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Volume 22 No. 27
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Audi, MillerCoors reviews drag on

Global warming is affecting everything from polar bears to penguins to transoceanic shipping lanes. However, it seemingly has had no influence on two of the largest sports experiential agency reviews — both are moving along at the pace of a glacier.

 

Audi, which has a U.S. sports portfolio that includes 90 Audi quattro Cup amateur golf tourneys that feed into a national final as well as naming rights at the new MLS stadium in Washington, D.C., and other MLS team deals, put its account up for review earlier this year. Sources said LeadDog Marketing is defending its incumbent position.

 

Meanwhile, other agency sources tell us that MillerCoors, also in review since the winter, is moving with absolutely no deliberate speed. The brewer’s review has been decelerated by the departure of CMO David Kroll in late July and subsequent search for a replacement. Additionally, sources tell us that the procurement executive administering the review, Kim Courtney, has left the company. We’re told there is a short list of three or four agencies.

 

A copy of Audi’s RFP, obtained by SBJ, notes than none of the work for the two-year term will start before 2019, and estimated that the award would not be made until this month. That doesn’t mean we didn’t hear considerable frustration from some of the agencies involved, since the 35-page document asks for activation ideas for nearly every Audi sports and arts/culture property.

 

“It’s always a bet on how much spec work you are going to do or whether the review is just really an exercise in generating creative, which may or may not get lifted,” grumbled one agency head, whose shop chose not to participate.

 

American Family Insurance has seen its awareness levels skyrocket since putting its name on the front of Atlanta United’s jerseys.
Photo: Getty Images

FAMILY AFFAIR: With jersey patches and sponsorships slowly gaining acceptability in the U.S. via the NBA and MLS, American Family Insurance is one of their strongest advocates.

 

Having taken jersey rights to the runaway success story that is the Atlanta United, American Family Insurance has seen marked increases in awareness. Admittedly, AmFam has a lot more upside when it comes to brand metrics than venerable insurance brands such as Allstate and State Farm, which outspend it exponentially.

 

Nonetheless, Mark Rothwell, brand and consumer marketing associate vice president, tells us that after the Atlanta United jersey deal and an associated sponsorship with the Atlanta Falcons, also owned by Arthur Blank, brand awareness is at the 90th percentile among those familiar with AmFam’s United sponsorship. Still being assessed are consumer engagement, brand consideration and unaided brand awareness.

 

“It’s pretty uncharted territory in America,” Rothwell said, “but we like where we are headed, and we’re now looking to buttress that with exclusive content and experiences and trying to break through as a small brand in a big category.”

 

CARD GAME: Mastercard is close to finalizing a low-eight-figure deal to sponsor the next Copa America for its Latin American region. Precisely which agency will continue to sell that property is much less clear.

 

The South American soccer championship tournament will be held in Brazil next year. MP & Silva has been selling those rights, though that is now in question after the media rights company, 66 percent owned by Chinese investment company Everbright International and Chinese technology company Baofeng Group, defaulted on scheduled payments to properties including the Premier League and the European Handball Federation. MP & Silva is also in arbitration with FIFA over some advisory contracts for Italian World Cup rights.

 

Octagon is Mastercard’s longtime sports agency of record.

Terry Lefton can be reached at tlefton@sportsbusinessjournal.com.