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Volume 21 No. 1
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Mom from a true NFL family unable to crack Chunky’s lineup

Terry Lefton
Over the 16 years of its “Mama’s Boy” TV campaign for Chunky soup, longtime NFL sponsor Campbell’s has sometimes employed real moms of NFL players and other times used actresses. Last year’s Chunky soup ads with New York Giants wide receiver/salsa dancer Victor Cruz used a bogus mom and grandmother for the player. This year’s ads with Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews entering a “momcave” behind his locker also do not include his genuine mother, Leslie Matthews.

This is either a pity or an outrage, depending on how well you know the NFL lineage of the Matthews family. The remarkable truth: Six Matthews across threegenerations have earned NFL paychecks.

Clay Matthews Sr. was a defensive lineman in the 1950s for the San Francisco 49ers. His sons also played in the NFL: Clay Matthews

Jr. was a linebacker for the Cleveland Browns and others; Bruce Matthews was an offensive lineman for Tennessee and Houston and is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Bruce’s son, Kevin, was undrafted but played three seasons for Tennessee. Clay Matthews III is the current Packers star, and his brother, Casey Matthews, plays linebacker for the Philadelphia Eagles.

We won’t even get into Kevin’s two younger brothers, who play on the offensive line at Texas A&M.

Do we detect a pattern here? Certainly. Yet some marketing genius at Campbell’s, or possibly ad agency Y&R, decided a genuine mother from what could be described as the

The “mom” with Clay Matthews in the spot is an actress, not his real mother, Leslie.
first family of the NFL was unfit for service as a Chunky NFL spokesmom.

Campbell’s spokeswoman Megan Haney acknowledged an actress was playing the role of Matthews’ mom this year and said, “For many years, we have used an actress to play the role of ‘mom’ for the Mama’s Boy campaign. … We remain consistent in our approach this year.”

By way of reparations, NFL sources tell us there is talk of employing authentic mom Matthews in appearances for Campbell’s “Sacks For Soups” cause-related program, which donates thousands of cans of soup to food banks for each sack by the currently injured Matthews III.

We know of at least one case (former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb) in which an actress playing a mom was eventually replaced by the bona fide mother. Here’s hoping they fix the recipe next year.

> NET GAIN: With an influx of talent joining the Brooklyn Nets, including Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Kidd, the last of whom signed on as coach, fans are expecting a playoff run this year, and sponsors are ponying up. Ad rates for the team’s broadcasts on YES Network are up, and the net is carrying five preseason games instead of its usual complement of two. There will be 76 regular-season games telecast on YES, the same as last season.

“We’re ahead of last year’s fourth-quarter [total as of] now,” said Howard Levinson, the network’s senior vice president of ad sales. “If you look at this calendar year, we should have our best Nets year ever. Looking at the 2013-14 season, we are tracking to have our best season ever.”

Autos, including Honda, Nissan, Kia, Hyundai, Cadillac, Dodge, Chrysler, Chevy, Ford and BMW lead the way, and represent between 33 percent and 40 percent of the sales pie. Other larger advertisers are pregame and postgame sponsor Verizon, Barclays, McDonald’s, KFC, Empire State Development, MetroPCS and MillerCoors.

> DROPPING A DIME: The annual March of Dimes Sports Luncheon, which is the sports industry’s most attended industry event at 700 people, returns to the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City on Dec. 4. MLB all-time saves leader Mariano Rivera and WNBA star Skylar Diggins will be honored as Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year.

Jon Miller, president, programming, NBC Sports, will receive the Corporate Leadership Award, while Brooklyn Nets CEO Brett Yormark will get the Sports Leadership Award. Luncheon sponsors include Allstate, as presenting sponsor; Anheuser-Busch as luncheon sponsor; along with HBO Sports, MLB, MSG, NFL, NHL, NBA/WNBA, MLS, U.S. Tennis Association, WWE, NBC Sports Group, SportsNet New York/New York Mets, Turner Sports, YES Network, Brooklyn Nets, CBS Sports, Fox Sports, Lagardère, and the USA Today Sports Media Group.

> COMINGS & GOINGS: Todd Fischer, State Farm manager of marketing communications, is leaving the insurer after five years to rejoin GMR Marketing at the agency headquarters in Milwaukee as vice president of client management. Fischer worked at GMR for three-plus years before joining State Farm, and his agency experience also includes stints at Zipatoni and Arc Worldwide. … Former ESPNer Ed Willett is joining WGT Media as vice president sales and sponsorships from a newly established Manhattan office representing World Golf Tour, WGT Golf and WGT Baseball. Willett has been vice president, business development, at the LPGA since 2011. … Former NBA and NHL marketer Ken Rosen has joined SME Branding, New York, to establish a new video production department. Rosen was last with Madison Avenue Sports. … Danielle DeLancey has joined the San Francisco Bay Area Super Bowl Host Committee as chief of staff for CEO Keith Bruce. DeLancey last served as director on the bid committee for Super Bowl L, coming to the Bay Area in 2016.

Terry Lefton can be reached at