Advertisers likely the only ones happy with LeBron's ESPN show

By T.L. Stanley on Mon Jul 12 2010


Days after the "exclusive" announcement from (King) LeBron James that he'll be joining the Miami Heat, the debate/backlash is still in full tilt about the whole TV affair. Murky ethics, checkbook journalism, non-news news event—take your pick, and start hashing it out. One thing's clear, though: The sponsors that appeared during that hour-long ESPN "special"—handpicked by James—saw nothing but net. (ESPN allowed James to fill out the advertiser roster, and proceeds were donated to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.) The eight brands in the broadcast got nearly $3 million worth of exposure, according to media research firm Joyce Julius & Associates. (We can safely assume that's a whole lot more than they paid.) Top of the list was the University of Phoenix, with its banners, on-screen graphics and logos appearing for a total of two minutes and 22 seconds, and earning 11 verbal references, for more than $1 million in value. After that came Microsoft's Bing, with two minutes and 41 seconds and a half-dozen mentions for $873,000 worth of media time. Marketers like Facebook, McDonald's and Coca-Cola's Vitaminwater also scored big during the controversial program. So, add this to the conversation starters, since all the talk about this sordid affair should start and end with money anyway.

'Grown Ups' getting more than a little play during the NBA Finals

Posted on Mon Jun 14 2010

If Grown Ups doesn't open huge at the box office, it won't be the NBA Finals' fault. Or maybe it will. The cast of the Big-Chill-meets-bathroom-humor flick has been relentlessly plugging the movie's June 25 debut during every game, via a deal between Sony/Columbia Pictures, the NBA and ABC. Cast members Adam Sandler, David Spade, Chris Rock, Kevin James and Rob Schneider have appeared in a series of on-air vignettes, the type that marketers and TV networks love to do, especially during sports programming, to juice those media buys. The comedians have been shown sitting around waxing philosophical about basketball, pro players and camaraderie. (See, they're all really good friends and they hang out together. It has nothing to do with shilling!) And there are trailers galore, most containing a pee joke. Several of the stars have shown up courtside, too, and that's likely to intensify as the game moves back to the Staples Center in L.A. for game 6 on Tuesday. The NBA Finals do provide the right demo for the comedy, but let's not forget that this exposure alone isn't enough to put Grown Ups into The Hangover territory (as much as Hollywood needs that kind of a hit). After all, the movie that sucked up a lot of air time during last year's finals? The giant bomb, Year One. 'Nuf said.

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

Your favorite NBA team's logo, soon to be available on a pizza

Posted on Wed Jun 2 2010


I'm gearing up for Thursday night's playoff game between my beloved Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics, and boy, I could go for a giant pepperoni pizza with my team's purple-and-gold logo seared into the middle! I'll have to wait, but eventually fans like me will be able to spend an extra $5 to have an edible NBA logo on some of our game-night snacks. (The term edible is used somewhat loosely, judging from the ingredients: sugar, starch and food coloring. Maybe with enough beer it'll be tolerable.) The NBA, reeling from a drop in licensed merchandise sales, has made a deal for about 1,200 independent pizza parlors to offer the colorful logos of 30 teams on their pies, starting next season. The league won't stop there, and is planning licensed toasters (already the province of Hello Kitty and tons of kid entertainment properties), panini sandwich presses and more. What, no vending machines?

—Posted by T.L. Stanley



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