Sportsmarketingguy's Blog

Is it just noise or does it connect and move the needle

Archive for January, 2009

Super Bowl Scene

Posted by sportsmarketingguy on January 29, 2009

Day 3 at the Super Bowl is underway and the rest of the week will be crunch time with 2 media tours and the Donruss Pop Warner Classic on Saturday featuring former NFL Players Vinny Testaverde, Steve DeBerg and Dave Moore. This year we have a huge presence with the NFL Host City Team, Tampa Bay Buccaneers stepping up to support the effort.  It will be very cool.

Now on to Super Bowl…

Super Bowl Atmosphere: I spent the last two days in the NFL Media Center and bumped into some former colleagues and producer friends.  Overall it feels different and I don’t know whether we can attribute that to the economy, state of the media as less stations seem to be down here or if it is just an overall lack of excitement for this year’s game?  There definitely are some big sports radio stations from around the country missing.  If WFAN is here, I can’t seem to find them.  There is no Boston sports radio, which is a surprise to me and makes me wonder – does ESPN Boston have an advantage over WEEI because it airs a majority of ESPN national shows including Mike & Mike, and The Herd with Colin Cowherd, as well as others that are broadcasting from Tampa? I know where I would be tuning in.

There are less athletes and non-football personalities that have made their way through the Media Center.

NFL Experience: Tuesday night I hit the NFL Experience to scope out the scene and hang with the Donruss guys.  As the “Official Trading Card Sponsor of the NFL Experience,” they have put together a great space.  They just released an amazing new set that is part of their National Treasures line called 2008 Playoff National Treasures Football that sells for a cool $500 a pack.  It’s HOT.

What’s Up Next: A media tour with 1987 Heisman Trophy Winner and Oakland Raiders Legend Tim Brown today to discuss a program to battle childhood obesity and keeping kids active by participating in sports like Pop Warner. Interviews include Sirius Sports Radio,, Yahoo Sports! and NFL Network.

NFLPA Party – Always fun, but should be interesting given it is the first since the passing of Gene Upshaw and considering a successor should be announced in the next three months – a story that I think will be one of the biggest sports business stories in 2009.  On the eve of the party, the NFLPA lost a major appeal that means they will have to pay retired NFLers $28.1 M in royalties and licensing agreements including the most visible one with EA Sports, Bloomberg News has the background on that. The NFLPA also holds it State of the Union press conference today and William Rhoden of the NY Times does a good job looking into the mindset of the players as they search for a new leader after two decades.


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Super Bowl Advertising Update

Posted by sportsmarketingguy on January 29, 2009

Super Bowl Advertising:  Some interesting news on this front. After it was reported earlier this week that NBC had 10 spots remaining in their ad inventory, NBC Sports & Olympics Chair Dick Ebersol came out Tuesday and said that only 2 ad spots remained and that all of the ads sold for at least $2.4M with a “large number of them” being sold for $3M earlier this fall before the financial crisis.

Quick Hits: On Super Bowl advertising and a couple of ads I addressed in my last blog.  I highlighted the Coca-Cola Mean Joe Greene ad as one of the Super Bowl classics.  Coca-Cola is airing an ad that will feature current Pittsburgh Steelers S Troy Polamalu that “will be different.”  Will this be a classic? shared some insight into their Super Bowl ad plans on Fox Business saying that one of their ads would be humorous and the other would appoint a fan to the new position of “Director of Fandemonium” and would include a $100,000 signing bonus.  At first glance, this move seems to be a curious PR stunt that doesn’t make a lot of sense given the economic uncertainties.  But a closer look and I recall that in November, Monster announced a multi-year marketing deal with the NFL to become the league’s “Official Career Services Sponsor.”  It was also reported at the time that Monster would work with the NFL to create a year-long promotion that would kick-off at Super Bowl XLIII.  To me this ad is part of supporting Monster’s activation strategy for the partnership and makes a ton of sense.  I always preach sponsorship is useless if you are just putting your name on a billboard and you have to activate to resonate.  I give Monster credit – what better way to launch the year-long initiative then to let people know they could be the first “NFL Director of Fandemonium” during one of the most watched events of the year?  Although I would have wanted to have a message point on this to use when Fox Business questioned whether this was frivolous.

Bud Bowl I was another ad I mentioned in my previous blog entry on Super Bowl Advertising. Turns out, there were two finale’s that never aired (the first can be seen below)!  An equally better ending Grant Pace mentions when he lays it down in a  Q&A on Deadspin.  It would have been instant classic without a doubt – can anyone say Heidi Bowl?

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Super Bowl Ads Worth The $$$ To Reach Consumers

Posted by sportsmarketingguy on January 26, 2009

Each year millions gather around big screen TVs to watch the Super Bowl, never caring or knowing who is playing in the game. Friends go silent when there is a timeout, in anticipation of Super Bowl ads. Past history has produced some memorable spots – Coke’s Mean Joe Green ad
Reebok’s Office Linebacker: Terry Tate and of course the Original Bud Bowl with Bob Costas announcing – Budweiser went on to defeat Bud Light 27-24 and launched a whole series of spots that became a part of Super Bowl lore. A special shout out to my boss Grant Pace who wrote the first Bud Bowl ads, the only thing better was the finale that never aired (maybe I’ll post that later this week).

Even in a down economy and with :30 second spots going for a reported $3M according to Aaron Smith at, the game represents the best chance for brands and their agencies to shine and reach a mass audience when they won’t be fast-forwarding their DVRs. According to the Neilsen Company 97.5 million watched last year’s game.

Brian Steinberg of Advertising Age does a good job highlighting the newcomers and what’s at stake for this year’s Super Bowl advertisers in Saturday’s Boston Globe .

It’s safe to say we won’t see a lot of brands just blowing their money for a good laugh or spots designed to win the USA Today Ad Meter the following day. Smart brands will take the opportunity to reinforce what they stand for and how they can help consumers in these challenging times.

The return of will be an interesting play and I’ll be curious to see the tone they take given the number of U.S. workers looking for jobs. E-Trade is a curious play given the financial crisis and stock market volatility – I give them credit for stepping up and am interested in seeing how they plan to execute their supported “internet initiatives” which are supposed to include executions on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. Equally curious is’s participation with a :60 second spot.

I don’t know if we will see any ads that will make Super Bowl history, but the ads I will be looking out for include GE’s ad featuring the Scarecrow from The Wizard of Oz, Pepsi’s 3-D ad for SOBE Lifewater, and the winning Doritos user-generated commercial that was part of its “Crash The Super Bowl Contest’ that garnered more than 2,000 contestants – the best part of that contest is if the winner gets the #1 rated position in USA Today’s Ad Meter the following day they’ll win a $1 million bonus prize. Who knows maybe there is a Don Draper out there waiting to be found.

Mad Men's Don Draper

Mad Men's Don Draper

Honestly, as a PR/marketing guy you have to love brands that are willing to build platforms to interact with consumers & support their investment in a Super Bowl ad rather than just blowing money to be a part of the Big Game. Stay tuned as we are bound to see some of the spots coming out this week.

I’ll be heading down to the Super Bowl on Tuesday for an event we created, the Donruss Pop Warner Classic that will include several former Tampa Bay Buccaneers players and will be sure to shed some light on the scene and all the other things happening in Tampa.

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When “G” Doesn’t Hit The G-Spot

Posted by sportsmarketingguy on January 23, 2009

So if you have watched any of the college bowl games or NFL playoff’s over the last few weeks, you have certainly seen the new Gatorade ad and its new branding for one of the most iconic brands in sport. This campaign broke a few weeks ago, but what better time to discuss a brand that couldn’t be more aligned with the Super Bowl than leading into Super Bowl Week?
“What’s G? It’s the emblem of a warrior…” as some of the most recognizable faces in sports in black and white cross the screen: Serena Williams, Bill Russell, Dwayne Wade, Derek Jeter and the GOAT – Muhammad Ali with voice over by Lil’ Wayne and produced by Spike Lee. It is an AWESOME spot and Spike Lee continues to amaze – that is until it gets to the end when the letter G resembling something you might have seen on Sesame Street appears on the screen.

Initial reaction by the public and people that have been around the block in the advertising biz and that have launched major brands has been “What is it?” Then we and they find out what it is and you can hear the gasps.

The ad and the letter “G” is causing quite a stir in the sports and brand world. Because it’s Gatorade’s new brand id

The New Gatorade

The New Gatorade


For this sports marketing guy it’s blasphemous. I remember watching the 86′ Giants dumping the Orange Gatorade bucket over the head of a younger and unsuspecting Bill Parcells in Super Bowl XXI starting a tradition in sport that has become a part of winning a big game – the ultimate tribute when your brand transcends everything and becomes a part of the game.

The new branding has upset the widow of Gatorade’s inventor Dr. Robert Cade who at 79 years of age can still recognize when a rebrand is a bad idea. But Gatorade Co. said it is “redesigning everything from the sidelines to the shelf to appeal to a broader range of athletes and active people,” while using “bold new packaging.”


Even worse, Gatorade says the old packaging will ultimately be phased out…If “bold new packaging” means shocking the heart and soul of what your brand is – potentially putting it on life support, then they have it down.

Whether the new redesign helps Gatorade battle Vitamin Water and other low calorie sports drink alternatives to win back market share is the unanswered question. But it’s going to need more than a redesign to do that – sugar content anyone? Why not position G2 which was brilliantly launched as a low calorie alternative at last year’s Super Bowl as the competitor to Vitamin Water and SOBE Lifewater?

To me, we’ve seen this before – around the time sports fans were introduced to the Gatorade dump and the big orange bucket following the 86′ Super Bowl – it was Coca-Cola playing with its formula and creating “New Coke” – we all know how that turned out…

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Hello world!

Posted by sportsmarketingguy on January 22, 2009

And so it begins… I have been thinking about doing this for awhile now, but kept putting it off.  Call it my commitment to stick to a New Year’s Resolution or call it whatever satisfies you.  Thing is we are HERE.  There are a lot of good bloggers out there – is one I like because he just gets it. Which leads me to what I do.

I have been in the sports marketing and communications industry for 13 years working at agencies – currently I am the VP of Consumer and Sports Marketing for Conover Tuttle Pace (  I currently or have worked for brands that I like to say have a “vested interest in sports” including adidas, DC Shoes, Gillette, MasterCard, Swatch and AT&T Wireless and for organizations including Boston Red Sox, World Wrestling Entertainment, Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Pop Warner, NASCAR, Arena Football League and the Atlantic 10 Conference. 

Sometimes it’s generating stories and other times it’s about developing and implementing a marketing platform that help’s to reinforce a client’s brand or creating a strategic partnership.

Through the years I’ve come across sports marketing related issues/stories that have been intriguing to me.  Sometimes it is related to work and other times it’s not.  Sometimes I scratch my head and wonder what were they thinking?  Sometimes it’s brilliant or cool.  I thought I’d share them and talk about them HERE.

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