sports in the spotlight

Above the Heart: NBA Close to Approving Logos on Jerseys

Posted by Mark J. Miller on July 20, 2012 05:10 PM

You’re just sitting watching the game, enjoying the dull rhythm of massive millionaire players pounding back and forth down the court to help make other millionaires even richer through ticket sales, souvenir sales, beer sales, and, of course, jersey sales.

Suddenly NBA owners have found a new way to make some dough from that last category. And who doesn’t like to make a buck?

The NBA Board of Governors has voted to allow teams to sell small advertising patches on uniforms ("just above the heart") starting in the season after next, according to the Houston Chronicle. That seemingly little change could bring in $100 million annually for the league and open the door to other North American professional leagues to do the same thing.Continue reading...

just kidding?

Ronaldinho Sips From Wrong Cola, Pays Price

Posted by Mark J. Miller on July 13, 2012 11:01 AM

Brazilian soccer star Ronaldinho was the FIFA World Player of the Year back in 2004 and 2005, but the 32-year-old is starting to show his age a bit and didn’t even get placed on the nation’s Olympic team. He left his last club team, Flamengo, and sued them, only to be countersued.

Now he’s got another problem. He has a sponsorship deal with Coca-Cola that paid him $750,000 annually through 2014. That should be a good thing, right? Well, it was until Ronaldinho was spotted having a cola at a news conference. A Pepsi cola. Not his strongest move.Continue reading...


Can Chow Yun-Fat Bring A Better Tomorrow For Hugo Boss in China?

Posted by Abe Sauer on July 11, 2012 10:07 AM

"Sharpness is a state of mind," said Chow Yun-Fat (Master Li Mubai) in Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. But sharpness might also might be a perfectly fitted Hugo Boss suit, like the one Chow is now sporting as the first ever Asian face of the brand.

Chinese consumers may still be trying to "find" Leonardo DiCaprio and his Oppo handset, but more and more, brands looking to reach the Chinese consumer — especially luxury ones — are opting for local celebrity.Continue reading...


China's Li-Ning Tower Wobbles

Posted by Abe Sauer on July 9, 2012 06:10 PM

After enduring months of sliding sales, losses of market share and declining investor confidence at Li-Ning, the CEO of China's most famous athletic brand has resigned. Taking his place: the brand's founder and China's Olympic icon, Li Ning himself.

But does the gymnast turned entrepreneur still have the flexibility to bend his eponymous brand back into shape? And what does this mean for Li-Ning's global expansion aspirations?Continue reading...

celebrity brandmatch

Mary J. Blige Now Knows Who Her Friends Are Thanks to Burger King

Posted by Mark J. Miller on July 2, 2012 11:54 AM

Mary J. Blige had a dream when she was a kid. It wasn’t too outrageous or impossible to reach. All she wanted to do was be in a commercial for McDonald’s or Burger King. Well, she can scratch it off her list now and try to figure out how the whole became such a nightmare.

When Blige’s commercial for Burger King — part of BK's just-wrapped celebrity campaign for its new menu — came out in April, some attacked the spot touting crispy chicken snack wraps as stereotyping the African American performer. Wrap up all that anger and confusion into a slew of social-media outpouring and you’ had some pretty bad PR for Blige, while BK quickly squelched the affair by pulling the commercial.

It was also an object lesson in the pitfalls of celebrity endorsements. For Blige's part, she’s finally opening up about her side of the PR failure and has apologized to anyone who was offended.Continue reading...

social marketing

Ford's Scott Monty on Ryan Seacrest, Random Acts of Fusion and Transmedia

Posted by Dale Buss on June 29, 2012 03:40 PM

Ford has been moving from one major social-media marketing innovation to the next, so it comes as little surprise that the brand is mounting a major digital and social effort around the 2013 Ford Fusion mid-size sedan.

"Random Acts of Fusion" is a multi-platform, transmedia campaign that features Ryan Seacrest as its "emcee." It centers around a contest in which consumers will "Unlock" how Fusion is able to "transform" the lives of people who drive it, Crystal Worthem, manager of Ford Brand Content & Alliances, stated.

In its slowly unfolding, almost teasing aspect, unlike previous Ford campaigns predicated on quick social-media participation, the Facebook-centered campaign is building anticipation by inviting fans to register and then stay tuned: "What's in the box? Register below to find out. Ryan will send one to each of the first 2,500 people who sign up for Random Acts of Fusion. Then come back to on July 5th to find out what happens next."

The teaser campaign "is designed to invoke emotion, which the [car] design does," Scott Monty, Ford's director of social media, told brandchannel. And the promotion is built "to go with people where they go — desktop to mobile to digital to social to experiential."Continue reading...

personal brands

Tim Tebow Speaks, Doesn't Strut, for Jockey

Posted by Dale Buss on June 27, 2012 02:11 PM

It may be only a matter of time before Tim Tebow's sustained reputation as the NFL's "good guy" runs smack into his growing chops as an underwear model, like some unfortunate tailback trying to run through a hulking defensive lineman. But don't count on that happening any time soon.

For now, as he readies for the next buzz-worthy chapter in his short but colorful professional-football career and practices for his first season with the New York Jets, Tebow and his most notable corporate sponsor, Jockey International, are trying to have it both ways.

In previous campaigns, they have been fully willing to flaunt his considerable physique to ply Jockey underwear. But the star and the brand have been careful not to do so in ways that would undermine Tebow's devotion to personal chastity and his Christian faith.

That was the case again when Jockey asked Tebow to kick off its "Hot City Cool Down" campaign at a fashion show in Orlando. Tebow, dressed in a Jockey t-shirt and jeans, emceed the affair while male and female models showed off Jockey undergarments — and he left the modeling to the professionals.Continue reading...

sporting brands

Lance Armstrong Endorsement Deal Proves Thorny for FRS

Posted by Dale Buss on June 25, 2012 03:09 PM

FRS, a leading U.S. brand of supplement beverages and other products, is experiencing the ups and the downs of powerful celebrity endorsements — simultaneously. 

The brand's three leading athlete endorsers are New York Jets Quarterback Tim Tebow, who is beginning to whip up Gotham-sized buzz in his new home; Christie Rampone, a player on the U.S. Olympic Women's Soccer team that is gearing up to compete in London; and Lance Armstrong, whose rep has been crashing down following a new U.S.-government investigation of doping allegations — charges the most legendary cyclist of all-time is vigorously denying.Continue reading...

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