Ironman champion Chris McCormack makes it to Wheaties box

By Todd Wasserman on Mon Oct 11 2010


When it comes to endorsement deals, endurance athletes don't really get their due. If you can hit a baseball well, you'll make millions. If you can win a 140.6-mile race that includes swimming, running and biking, you consider yourself lucky to take home the $20,000 in prize money. But now General Mills is recognizing Chris McCormack, who won the grueling Ford Iron Man Triathalon in Honolulu by putting him on the iconic Wheaties box. Since Wheaties' Fuel is a tie-in partner for the event, the deal makes sense, especially in an age when baseball heroes are often found to be steroid users. Speaking of ballplayers (not steroids), the first athlete to grace a Wheaties box was Lou Gherig, whose picture ran on the back in 1934.

Have Justin Bieber ardently spruce up your fingers and your toes

By T.L. Stanley on Mon Oct 11 2010


Do you love Justin Bieber from the top of your head to the tips of your toes? (If you answered yes, and you're not a 12-year-old girl, please seek help.) The merchandising machine that is Team Bieber has already clothed and accessorized millions of fans' body parts with charm bracelets, T-shirts, hoodies, necklaces and hats. Now, it's on to the all-important mani-pedi. The YouTube pop sensation has "designed" a line of nail polish with Nicole by OPI that will go on sale exclusively at Walmart in December. (Stocking stuffer alert!) An expanded line will hit Ulta and Target in February, just in time for Bieber's 3-D concert movie/big-screen "acting" debut. The product's called One Less Lonely Girl, after the Canadian moppet's hit song, and will feature shades like "Step 2 the Beat of My Heart," which is metallic blue with girly glitter. So, don't wonder why members of Bieber Nation will be a little woozier than usual in a few months. They'll be high on hormones and acetate fumes.

Post settles with Hulk Hogan over Cocoa Pebbles appearance

By T.L. Stanley on Fri Oct 1 2010

Marketers can't just go around appropriating celebrities' likenesses without forking over some dough. Just ask E*Trade, whose "milkaholic Lindsay" ad in the Super Bowl ended up costing them some scratch, reportedly, when Lindsay Lohan showed how paranoid she was by filing a lawsuit. (Included in the legal language: That baby smack-talked me! Not included: I need money!) That one's tenuous at best, but Post Foods rightly got its hands slapped by Hulk Hogan, who showed up in a Cocoa Pebbles ad in cartoon form, complete with a WWE-replica championship belt. (At least he got to pulverize Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble.) Since Hogan never agreed to star in that campaign, he threatened to sue. Post settled this week, giving the grappler an undisclosed amount of cash. The ad, seen here, was pulled. So that's a bam-bam for Post.

Jillian Michaels of 'Biggest Loser' joins GoDaddy's roster of girls

By David Kiefaber on Fri Sep 17 2010

Jillian-godaddy is adding to its roster of famous spokeswomen by bringing in hardass Biggest Loser trainer Jillian Michaels for a three-year deal. Michaels will join GoDaddy veteran Danica Patrick, whose silence on the subject could mean any number of things. This move will surely be good for GoDaddy's brand, but maybe not so good for Michaels' in the long term. GoDaddy has climbed to the top of the Web-domain registry business thanks to its, ahem, provocative advertising. This is something of a landmark, because sex has actually translated into sales, and not just attention, for GoDaddy. It's also the only Web-hosting company with any kind of widespread marketing initiative, but the fact remains that its stupid Maxim humor actually works. But Michaels, who is something of an inspirational figure, could scotch her reputation with a few years of tearing her shirt off for creepazoids like Bob Parsons. She'll be doing it for a lot of money, most likely, but that's still a tough call. We'll see how she feels after the Super Bowl.

For Hollywood actors, voicing car commercials is getting cooler

By David Kiefaber on Tue Sep 7 2010


The new trend for Hollywood actors these days seems to be car commercials. USA Today points out that Tim Allen and Robert Downey Jr. are doing voiceovers for Chevy and Nissan, respectively, joining guys like Jeff Bridges (Hyundai) and Patrick Stewart (BMW), both of whom padded their résumés and wallets with this easy, high-paying gig. We could also add Michael C. Hall's Dodge work to the list. Allen, who just voiced Buzz Lightyear in Toy Story 3, is a Chevy nut in real life who owns a personally designed 1996 Chevrolet LT5 Impala SS, among other cars, and his unsophisticated everyman identity is unbreakable thanks to his time on Home Improvement, so he's ideal for a brand like Chevy. More interesting, though, is the fact, mentioned in the article but not really explored, that few actresses get voiceover work for car commercials. Standing beside a car in a bikini, sure, but talking about cars in any depth? It's still a male province, to judge by current marketing. In an AdweekMedia/Harris poll earlier this year, 28 percent of viewers said a male voice was more likely to sell them a car, versus 7 percent preferring a female voice. Since that leaves a whopping 65 percent unaccounted for, maybe most people don't care either way. In which case, would it kill automakers to bring in some famous female voices once in a while?

Joss Stone and Nine West bring you some more retail-tainment

By T.L. Stanley on Mon Aug 30 2010


We're living in the era of retail-tainment, where we've come to expect live music at the Apple Store, mountaineering discussions at REI and product demos at Bed Bath & Beyond. Not surprisingly, well-known talent is stepping into this area because it's a welcoming and unique environment in which to plug one's latest project. Marketers, who benefit greatly from the star power, are only too willing to make this all happen. (Sarah McLachlan recently played a live show in a JetBlue terminal; no word on how many fans watched the concert instead of catching their flights.) Now, soul singer Joss Stone is hitting the Nine West flagship store in midtown Manhattan on Sept. 10 for a live performance. She'll also be at the Macy's on 34th Street in Herald Square that day to chat with fans and sign copies of her new CD. It's part of Fashion's Night Out, an annual charity event in New York, and Stone's promotion of a co-branded line she designed for Nine West. (She even wrote a song about it!) Stone's Vintage America collection includes shoes, clothing, jewelry and other accessories. Everyone involved hopes that grooving while you shop will boost the bottom line. You have to admit, it's catchy.

Fashion brands trick Snooki into toting around competitors' bags

By David Kiefaber on Thu Aug 19 2010


Designer brands have been courting celebrities for decades, but leave it to Jersey Shore to turn that practice on its head. Those of you who watch the show will be aware that Snooki's loyalty to her Coach bag was unwavering until recent photos showed her with new designer purses. The reason for her fickle taste is that, according to the New York Observer, various fashion houses are sending her free bags made by their competitors, because they think she's repulsive enough that viewers will automatically avoid anything she touches. This approach, while amusing and innovative, might be more effective if these brands weren't all doing the same thing, methinks. Whatever the result, this experiment will hopefully end before the Observer can give Snooki, aka "Miss Snickerdoodle," any more stupid nicknames.

Foul-mouthed Kenny Powers already giving K-Swiss a nice boost

By T.L. Stanley on Wed Aug 11 2010

Allowing your spokescharacter to berate your brand hasn't turned out so badly for K-Swiss. At least, not yet. The marketer recently launched a multi-pronged campaign with actor/comedian Danny McBride in his obnoxious F-bomb-dropping Kenny Powers persona from the cult-favorite HBO show Eastbound and Down. In just a week, the video snippets of Powers yelling obscenities at K-Swiss execs and making outrageous suggestions for their ads have garnered upwards of 500,000 views. Stock price of the company is trending up, and sales are strong (though of course it's anyone's guess if the advertising is responsible for those last two). The campaign from agency 72andSunny for K-Swiss's Tubes athletic shoes puts Powers side by side with pro footballers Jeremy Shockey and Patrick Willis and mixed-martial-arts fighter Urijah Faber in clips on and YouTube. Fans on the Facebook page, with a Powers widget called the "Workout Wingman," have grown five-fold to more than 50,000. In-theater ads launch this Friday, which is fortuitous timing, as Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and The Expendables are likely to draw flocks of young men (and presumably a lot of Powers aficionados) to the multiplex. Like the K-Swiss execs, they're not likely to be offended by a few swear words.

Take your Betty White obsession to a whole new, wearable level

By T.L. Stanley on Fri Jul 23 2010


Betty White's adorable, beaming face really is everywhere, including stamped on your chest. Not only did she kill during her first Saturday Night Live hosting gig (she has an Emmy nomination to prove it) and get her new TV Land sitcom, Hot in Cleveland, picked up for a second season, White is also starring in a line of licensed wearables. As a nod to the legion of young fans who woke up to her via The Proposal and the Super Bowl ad for Snickers, the T-shirts and hoodies are digitally equipped with washable earbuds and a jack for plugging in your iPod or MP3 player. The deal between White and L.A.-based manufacturer Jerry Leigh Apparel will put product into stores next month, according to WWD. (Preview: There's some Shepard Fairey-esque/Obey graphics and some '80s inspired looks—all fabulous). Proceeds will go to the Morris Animal Foundation, an animal-health group that White has supported for years.

Derek Jeter named baseball's most marketable player in survey

By David Kiefaber on Wed Jul 21 2010


Sports Business Daily has determined via survey that Derek Jeter is baseball's most marketable player. Check out the top 10 here. Jeter secured nearly 80 percent of first-place votes from corporate brand managers and marketing executives, possibly because he's the only player on the ballot whom casual baseball fans would know, mostly thanks to him dating a steady rotation of actresses, supermodels and Mariah Carey. That's just a guess, though. The survey results didn't suggest any reasons for why Jeter won by such a substantial margin, but he is a good-looking, charming man in a sport full of dudes with beer guts who spit constantly. Not only that, but any flaws in his personality are overshadowed by everyone else in professional sports either tangling themselves up in sex scandals, running dogfights or killing their families out of nowhere. By those standards, Jeter's public image is in pretty good shape.



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