Silva, Evans Sign with MusclePharm

July 23, 2010

Musclepharm has reached multi-fight sponsorship agreements with two of the UFC’s biggest stars in Anderson Silva and Rashad Evans. The company made the announcement at the end of June.

MusclePharm(R) Corporation (OTCBB:MSLP – News), a fast-growing nutritional supplement company with a proprietary formulation used in eight performance products, is pleased to announce multi-fight sponsorship deals with two of the biggest stars in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), middleweight champion Anderson Silva and former light heavyweight champion and No. 1 contender Rashad Evans.

Payout Perspective:

This isn’t terribly shocking: Anderson Silva was sponsored by Musclepharm at UFC 112 and Rashad Evans has been sponsored by Musclepharm since at least UFC 108 (the company has a deal with Greg Jackson’s Gym and sponsors many of the Jackson fighters on a fight-to-fight basis).

There’s long been a debate in sponsorship circles as to whether the actions of a sponsored property can negatively impact a sponsoring brand. Multiple studies have been performed regarding the topic, but none paint a stunningly clear picture. In fact, most suggest that it really depends on context: things such as pre-existing brand awareness, loyalty, consumer expectations, etc.

Sometimes I wonder what the impact of Anderson Silva’s performance at UFC 112 had on the Musclepharm brand. I can’t imagine it was severe. Yet just the same as the brand can be associated with a strong performance, I tend to think the brand may have been slightly impacted by Silva’s negative performance at 112: a less-than-entertained crowd had to suffer through the world’s best fighter dancing around for the better part of 30 minutes and the entire time that MP logo was stuck smack dab in the middle of it all.

Still, I don’t think it takes away much from the great work that Musclepharm has been doing to promote its brand and activate around that WEC partnership.

6 Responses to “Silva, Evans Sign with MusclePharm”

  1. Machiel Van on July 23rd, 2010 8:32 AM

    Hmmm… interesting subject. I completely forgot that Anderson Silva was sponsored by Musclepharm at UFC 112. I consider myself a pretty hardcore fan, so the fact that I completely forgot may be indicative in this regard. However, I will also admit that I don’t pay much attention to fighter sponsorships other than what I read on this site, and I don’t use any sort of supplements (unless you count 1 A Day vitamins and flax oil lol). I guess for me my brain didn’t make the Anderson Silva/Musclepharm connection, so maybe only had a short term effect (I probably would’ve remembered the logo for a short time after I watched the event.) Anyone else have a different experience?

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  3. Diego on July 23rd, 2010 2:01 PM

    Machiel,

    A lot of product placement works subliminally. Few people can recall exactly where they saw a certain logo, but they do remember the product and they have a certain (almost emotional) perception of the brand.

    It’s not surprising that someone watching UFC 112 would not remember months later that A. Silva was sponsored by Musclepharm, but I’m willing to bet that the placement did raise your awareness of the brand and left you with a certain perception of that brand. However, brand awareness takes thousands of “views” to be established, so you would be hard pressed to identify how Silva’s performance makes you feel about Musclepharm because your perception is muddled with all of the different times you’ve seen the brand.

    All of that makes it very difficult for companies to figure out if they are getting the bang for their buck. It’s tricky stuff and edging ever closer to psychology, but I doubt it will ever fully be understood. Like John Wanamaker used to say, ““I know that half of my advertising dollars are wasted … I just don’t know which half.” As long as they keep sponsoring MMA, I don’t care which half.

  4. Machiel Van on July 23rd, 2010 2:47 PM

    Thanks Diego. Influence on consumer behavior is fascinating, and I do admit if I ever did feel inclined to go and buy supplements, I might be enticed by certain brands simply because I have seen them displayed in MMA (however I would do some heavy research, but I suspect that for a lot of people the brand recognition might be enough).

  5. Kelsey Philpott on July 23rd, 2010 4:44 PM

    Diego,

    You’re absolutely right. The technical term is iconic rote learning; essentially you know something, but can’t remember how or where you’ve learned that something. It comes from the repeated exposure to a certain message over an extended period of time.

    The notion that people will eventually learn something if given enough exposure places an even greater importance on 360 degree (integrated) marketing. It’s not just that you want to cover all your bases and reach as many people as possible, but you also want to deliver that message to each individual as many times and in as many ways as possible.

    Machial,

    I’ve always advocated that the MMA fan can play a role in the growth/development of the sport beyond simply attending events and purchasing PPVs. If every single UFC fan made their beer of choice Bud Light or bought a USA Today subscription or visited Burger King every time they went to grab Fast Food, that would make a difference. There’s no tangible way to link that back to the UFC, but the principle of supporting those that support MMA is self explanatory.

    Interesting discussion guys…

  6. Bill on July 26th, 2010 10:09 AM

    Is Anderson Silva still signed with Nutrabolics? If he is, I would think that signing with ANOTHER supplement company (and one of Nutrabolics competitors) would be a conflict of interest..

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