Sports marketing

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Under Armour is introducing two new sneaker designs (May I call them sneakers?) this week in an attempt to increase its share of the $22B athletic footwear (sneakers) market.  A market, by the way, that was only about $3B in 1993.  The TV campaign handled by Twofifteen McCann and Digiteria for digital offers a lot of smart tactics: the director of Friday Night Lights, a YouTube takeover to reach the younger buyers, limited distribution to build demand, Cam Newton, and an idea that ties sneakers to sports action – FootstepsAs smart as these tactics are, they feel like a pastiche of forced-together marketing tools from an Effie Awards Annual. I suspect they will work, however.

First and foremost though, one must ask if footwear is a business Under Armour wants to be in.  I say no. And I’ve said so before in WTI.  Sunglasses? No as well. UA founder Kevin Plank, in his heart knows this.  He owns a franchise that is now being diluting.  You can’t keep sticking the same tea bag in new water.  The company already owns fast twitch muscle, form fitting wicking shirts but will lose that ownership as it takes its eyes off the ball. Wicking sneaker tops?  Not so sexy.  Lindsey Vonn. Oh yeah.

Mr. Plank’s next move should be into form fitting shorts and shirts for the fashion conscious market.  Leave the kicks to Nike.  Or start a new footwear endemic company  This is one brand extension that might sell some shoes near term, but is going to turn Under Armour into a brand in decline overall.  And it’s sad.  Stop playing with feet! Peace.

(Picture from NY Times.)

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I am a NY Mets fan.  Saw their first ever World Series home game. Gary Gentry and Nolan Ryan pitched. A great catch in the outfield.  When the Mets were bad, I’d read every NY daily newspaper after a win and only one after a loss. When a 20 something in NYC without any dough, I’d listen to the games on the radio and keep a score card in lined yellow legal pads I’d borrowed from work. 

The Mets are going to win the pennant this year, and people will look back and call me prescient.  But this year they are the poor, poor Mets.  Messrs. Wilpon and Saul Katz have developed a case of stinky which has attached to their suites and pressed shirt and it’s now passed on to the franchise.  The Mets have allowed the mainstream press to load up on the clubs financial troubles and it now defines them. Wait till 60 Minutes and Morley Safer gets after it.

New Yorkers are a very resilient group.  We love what’s ours. Don’t read on us. I don’t begin to know the intricacies of their business dealings with Madoff, but the Wilpons need to play some ball. They’ve got to stop being tofu in this media maelstrom.  Their strategy has to be “play to the kids and adults will follow.”  They should cancel the last few games of pre-season, come back to New York and barnstorm. Get the players to sign balls at malls, tweet their butts off, visit little league fields. Don’t just show up at Cohen’s Children’s hospital for a photo op. Take some grounders in Massapequa Park. Be heroic.  Remind us that they are just kids playing a kids game.  People are tired of money woes, it’s so last year.  Let’s play some baseball. (The $10 tickets, by the way, was a good start.) Peace.

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Poor, poor New York Knicks.  They own and play in the world’s most famous arena.  They’re backed by a smart company that has more money and love (for them) than are most sports franchises, but when it comes to marketing they can’t find their fanny with their hands.


Co:, a new marketing company formed by Ty Montague and Rosemarie Ryan, most recently of JWT, touted the Knicks as one of their first clients.  How’s that coffee smell y’all?  What a mess they stepped into.  Today’s New York Times reports the new Knicks adverting effort is a five agency ass-grab, sans an idea.  Co: has really taken a small role, according to the article, with only a limited mention.  Stuart Elliot, the Times advertising writer, suggests the idea is “You. Us. We. Now.”  Is that an idea…or four? Is there an acronym for Cry Out Loud? 

Everyone interviewed in the article says the wrong thing. The story suggests tactics-palloza  — and there is a focus on “fan engagement” that is well-intended but laughable.


Last year the Knicks idea was “Declare.”  What they meant to say was “Represent” but that, I’m sure, was a bit too urban.  How can you be urban and not urban in one word?  

The creative this year focuses on the players because they are all new. Lazy. It should be focusing on the basketball void that has been NYC for years. Hear that sucking sound?  If you want some hoops in NYC this year get your shoes out to Carnesecca Arena. Peace!

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