brand ambassadors

Lindsey Vonn Supports Sponsor Red Bull While in Rehab

Posted by Abe Sauer on February 20, 2013 10:29 AM

When Gold Medal skier Lindsey Vonn's uplifting Facebook post from rehab carried the Instagram/Twitter hashtag #givesyouwings, it was just the latest example of how injury has become another opportunity for athlete spokespeople to service their brands.

Vonn posted the positive message alongside a picture of herself working out her abs as she is recovering from knee surgery after a brutal injury. The picture included her Red Bull water bottle. (She later tweeted a graphic picture of her post-op knee).

Yes, Red Bull is a Lindsey Vonn sponsor, but the fact that the four-time World Cup champion might not strap on skis for another six to eight months isn't stopping her endorsement duties. In fact, as many brands are learning, there may be as much to gain from a sponsor's thrill of victory as there is from his or her agony of defeat.Continue reading...

brand ambassadors

'Blade Runner' Sponsors Nike, BT Shocked, but Sticking with Oscar Pistorius, For Now

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 15, 2013 01:53 PM

Oscar Pistorius was a man once known for being the fastest double-leg amputee on the planet. Now that the so-called Blade Runner has been charged with murder for the shooting death of his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp early Valentine’s Day morning, his sponsors, who pay out about $2 million to Pistorius annually, are moving just as quickly as Pistorius to figure out how to deal with the sudden PR nightmare.

Nike’s attachment to Pistorius was compounded by the fact that an ad featuring the Olympian used the tagline, “I’m the bullet in the chamber.” It was pulled from Pistorius’s website on Thursday, Ad Age reports. The victim's tweets before her murder also created a social media nightmare for anyone or any company attached to the paralympic athlete.

"Nike extends its deepest sympathy and condolences to all families concerned following this tragic incident," his sponsor said in a statement. "As it is a police matter, Nike will not comment further at this time." Two other sponsors, Oakley and BP Global, both used the word “shocked” in their statements on the issue. Thierry Mugler fragrances had nothing to say other than it was waiting to see what happens with the investigation.

British Telecom, better known as BT, also went the “appalled” route with its statement: "Our thoughts are with all those affected by this tragedy. Given the ongoing legal proceedings, it would be inappropriate for us to comment further."Continue reading...


Super Bowl Ad, Chip Contests Show PepsiCo's Deep Belief in the Crowd

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 5, 2013 07:06 PM

What does PepsiCo believe in even more than Beyonce? The answer might be crowdsourcing.

Sunday's Super Bowl halftime show served as the main kickoff to its huge investment in the globally popular entertainer with a concert that some felt usurped the game itself. But the walkup to her much-anticipated performance used a highly populist approach that underscored PepsiCo-Frito Lay's faith in the crowd as much as any pop star.

The bulk of the ad, produced by NYC-based Mekanism, featured a lightning-fast succession of Pepsi enthusiasts culled from more than 120,000 photos submitted to the brand via New York-based Olapic and Crowdtwist. Olapic collected and curated the pictures while CrowdTwist rewarded uploads through a point-based platform. Mekanism, as TIME puts it, took that material in a bid to manufacture "viral on demand" for the Pepsi brand.Continue reading...

that's entertainment

At Sundance, CAA Strays Far Off-Brand With a Wild, NC 17-Rated Blast

Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 25, 2013 04:21 PM

This year’s Sundance Film Festival ends Sunday — but for the powerful Creative Artists Agency, it may not be soon enough.

Amid a crowded slate of brand activities in Park City, Utah, CAA threw a party that the venerable film festival will not likely soon forget, featuring “lingerie-clad women pretending to snort prop cocaine, erotic dancers outfitted with sex toys and an "Alice in Wonderland" look-alike performing a simulated sex act on a man in a rabbit costume,” the Los Angeles Times reported. 

"I said to my agent, 'Is this how you want to brand yourself? Pole dancers? Really?'" Oscar-nominated writer-director Naomi Foner, who was at the festival with the film "Very Good Girls," told the newspaper. Continue reading...

political season

Big Switch from '09: Obama's Inauguration, Brought to You in Part By...

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 12, 2013 10:31 AM

During both of President Obama's election bids, supporters received emails every few days asking for donations to help the cause, even it was just a couple of bucks. And in the wake of his initial victory, donors gladly gave more to help fund his inauguration. Obama capped personal donations at $50,000, however, and no corporate donations were allowed.

Monday's inauguration was quite a different story, with corporations throwing in a reported total of $50 million to make it all happen after an election campaign that cost more than $1 billion. (Lobbyists and political action committees remained excluded from the inaugural funding process.)

As a result, Washingtonians saw visitors wandering around the city with bags sporting the inaugural seal on one side and the AT&T logo on the other. AT&T forked over a good deal of money to be an official sponsor, even though the company's political wing gave $5,000 to the Romney campaign and company chairman Randall Stephenson gave $30,000 to the Republican National Committee last year. 

Other corporations that donated to the inauguration included Southern Company, United Therapeutics, Centene Corp., Financial Innovations, Inc., Genentech, Microsoft, and Stream Line Circle, LLC, Politico reported.Continue reading...

auto motive

Chevrolet Feels Heat Ahead of Man United-Liverpool Grudge Match

Posted by Dale Buss on January 10, 2013 11:12 AM

General Motors is sticking with its pledge not to advertise during this year's Super Bowl, interim CMO Alan Batey told brandchannel. But the automaker's VP of U.S. sales, service and global marketing declined to rule out an advertising kick-off of the Chevrolet brand's new tag line, "Find New Roads," during TV spots before or after the Big Game on February 3 on CBS.

And in the meantime, Batey and Chevrolet do have their own huge moment to share with the world: sponsorship of Sunday's football (as in soccer) match between the Manchester United team and Liverpool in the U.K., which Batey said would fetch a global TV audience that could be much larger than the worldwide draw for the Super Bowl.

"This platform is huge for us, and it's really only the beginning of our relationship" with Manchester United, Liverpool and the Barclays Premier League, Batey said. "It will be a huge part of creating awareness for Chevy around the world." And taking advantage of — as well as boosting — Chevy's increasingly global platform is one main reason for the new "Find New Roads" positioning, which is replacing the lackluster "Chevy Runs Deep."Continue reading...

celebrity brandmatch

Struggling Li-Ning Wades Into Miami Heat

Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 18, 2012 06:01 PM

Back in October, Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade parted ways with Michael Jordan after serving as a spokesman for his Nike-backed Jordan Brand for a number of years. Wade, who has plenty of fans in America, was moving on to conquer a new land: China.

Only a week later, Wade confirmed rumors by announcing that he had signed with Chinese sportswear company Li-Ning. And now Li-Ning is coming right back to Wade as it's signed a deal with the Miami Heat that will find the team's branded merchandise sold at the American Airlines arena (where the billboard above can currently be spotted) and its name and logo posted on in-arena signage as well as on the team’s website and its TV broadcasts.

"The LI-NING brand represents both style and substance and is therefore a welcome addition to the Miami Heat family of partners," said Eric Woolworth, president of The Heat Group's Business Operations, in a press release. "We're eager to help introduce Li-Ning to Heat fans everywhere and we are confident their new collection of Wade merchandise will have a very broad appeal."

Li-Ning, in the middle of a three-year overhaul, is hoping the new partnership will boost its revenue and perception. The Wall Street Journal reports that the company “will record a substantial net loss for the year … as they attempt a major turnaround.”Continue reading...

response mechanism

Starbucks UK Tries to Spread the Cheer; Tax Protest Ambush Spreads the Sneer

Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 17, 2012 12:03 PM

All PR is good PR, right? Getting your brand name in front of as many eyeballs as possible can’t hurt, especially if the eyeballs are attached to bodies that are participating in a fun, engaging activity and so moved to purchase? Well, no.

The eyeballs of Britain have been staring down hard at Starbucks after it surfaced that that the coffee giant has paid only £8.5m ($13.8 million) in tax in the UK since entering the country 14 years ago despite having £3bn ($4.8 billion) in sales in that same time. In the last three years, the company paid exactly nothing in corporate tax in the UK. Some financial wizards at the company (or that the company consulted) figured out a way to make this a legal possibility. It involves the UK division of the company buying its coffee from the Swiss division in order to circumvent the tax charges.

Starbucks has agreed to voluntarily cough up £20m ($32.4 million) over the next two years to help make amends, but the dust-up hasn't settled yet. It's sponsoring an ice skating rink at London’s Natural History Museum, where Jessica Alba took her daughter for a spin. A big screen is pulling in Twitter messages with the hashtag of #spreadthecheer — and some wags took the opportunity to #spreadthesneer.Continue reading...

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