Ronda Rousey in new Pantene marketing campaign

December 7, 2016

Ronda Rousey will be a part of a new marketing campaign with Procter & Gamble’s Pantene brand.  The campaign is a play on Pantene’s “Don’t Hate Me Because I’m Beautiful” campaign in the 1980s.

In the television ad, Rousey states, “Don’t Hate Me Because I’m Strong.”

Rousey will appear across TV, digital and print advertising as well as PR and social media platforms.

Payout Perspective:

The launch of the campaign comes just weeks before Rousey returns to the octagon on December 30th.  It’s another major mainstream marketing campaign for Rousey.  This spot seems to be perfect for Rousey since the take on the campaign is a turn on the old perceptions of women and a look at the more active emerging role of women.

Cosmopolitan features Rousey’s diet

October 14, 2015

Cosmopolitan featured Ronda Rousey and her eating habits in a recent post about the UFC fighter.  The write-up is another good placement for making in-roads into the female demographic.

Screenshot 2015-10-13 14.31.16
The online article includes a video interview with Rousey as she describes her diet.

Recently, Rousey has appeared on two mainstream programs with demos that target women – “Ellen” and “Good Morning America.”

As an aside, in comparison, here is a snapshot of Dwayne Johnson’s diet going into the role of Hercules.

Payout Perspective:

Cosmopolitan is a magazine made for women.  According to its 2016 media kit over 14 million of the 16 million estimated readers are women and a bulk of those women are in one of the UFC’s target demos (18-49).  The allure (no pun intended with the mag of the same name) of targeting women makes sense for UFC marketing purposes as it seeks to expand its audience.

Will this effort help with selling UFC 193?  We shall see.

UFC announces new hire, satellite office in New York

October 7, 2015

The UFC has announced a new satellite office in New York as well as adding former Fox Sports executive Peter Vesey as Senior Vice President of Agency Partnership.  According to a company press release, Vesey will lead UFC’s strategic partnerships with top advertising agencies ensuring UFC success and the growth of the brand.

The New York office will “maximize its role as an important media influencer, while uniting key sponsors and global advertising agencies to create compelling marketing solutions and impactful ideas” according to the press release.

Vesey managed the UFC portfolio for Fox Sports which included working with sponsors such as Coca-Cola, Samsung, Microsoft, Reebok, Anheuser-Busch and Harley Davidson.

The press release does not state where the New York office will be located although based on the information in the press release one would have to conclude it will be in Manhattan.

Payout Perspective:

Although the press release does not address the current regulation in the state of New York, one has to think that establishing a satellite office in New York means that the UFC is hedging that it is close to legal professional MMA in the state.  Having a New York office will help work with media, advertisers and sponsors.  One might infer that this move will mean a move to expand its reach through the use of various forms of media as well as advertising and marketing campaigns.

Carl’s Jr. signs Ronda Rousey

August 4, 2015

Ronda Rousey will be the new face of burger chain Carl’s Jr. in the coming weeks as the company alluded to a partnership with the UFC women’s bantamweight champ in a tweet late Saturday night.

Eater.com confirmed that Carl’s Jr., based out of Southern California with chains across the United States, will have the fighter star in new commercials for the restaurant.  It’s a shift in promotional strategy for the company as it is trading in its prior commercial spokeswomen, Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian, for Rousey.  Eater.com calls the move to hire Rousey as “one of Carl, Jr.’s smartest moves” as she is “a strong and refreshing celebrity choice.”

Payout Perspective:

The company signing of Rousey reflects her expanding star power.  The move makes sense considering Rousey lives in Southern California and the company is based in the area.  From a marketing and advertising perspective, Carl’s Jr. shift from Hilton and Kardashian to Rousey probably improves its image as Hilton/Kardashian are polarizing figures whereas Rousey is a relatively fresh image in the mainstream market. It also is a subtle reflection of the change in the image of women in advertising as I’m sure Rousey will not be laying on a car or seductively eating a burger as the prior two did in Carl’s Jr. commercials.

WWE and NBCU announce new brand campaign

March 23, 2015

The WWE and NBCU have entered into a broad marketing plan the first of which will start during Wrestlemania this Sunday as Viacom’s Paramount has signed on to promote its new film, “Terminator: Genisys” with the WWE per company announcement. “For the Hero in All of Us,” campaign will air across NBC’s network and digital properties as well as all WWE platforms.

The new film, featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger will be promoted by the WWE starting this Sunday through its release in July. This Sunday, Triple H will make his entrance to the ring utilizing imagery from the movie. Triple H has a match with Sting this Sunday in one of the featured bouts of the annual event.

In addition, the new campaign includes WWE giving unprecedented access to its Superstars and Divas for creating custom “on-air campaigns, in-show integrations, and social campaigns to its advertisers.”

The new campaign spot created by the WWE is here.

Via WWE release:

Four key, tentpole marketing opportunities have been created for advertisers to take advantage of by utilizing WWE’s powerful engagement at scale:

  • “The Road To WrestleMania” – a 32-day build up to the Super Bowl of sports entertainment.
  • “The Slammy Awards” – an amped up version of WWE’s annual awards show that moves to first quarter in the heart of the red carpet season.
  • “Champions of Fatherhood” – a special series which turns the spotlight on America’s unsung heroes.
  • “Heroes of Tomorrow” – a way to highlight WWE’s legion of young fans.

Payout Perspective:

It appears that the WWE and NBCU will work more hand in hand when approaching advertisers for the WWE product. Perhaps this is an effort to attract more advertisers with the eventual end game of boosting ad sales of the WWE product.   The new strategy hopes to capitalize on the WWE’s broad social media and digital presence and NBCU broad scope of mainstream contacts to enhance advertising for the WWE.

UFC 148: Payout Perspective

July 8, 2012

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  This time we look at the biggest card of the year: Silva v. Sonnen II at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

Silva KOs Sonnen in 2nd round

Anderson Silva eluded a spinning back elbow from Chael Sonnen and began and assault with a knee to Sonnen’s  chest which was beginning of the end for the challenger.  Although it looked like an illegal knee, the replay showed that it was to the body and not the face.  In a first round that resembled most of their first fight at UFC 117, Sonnen took down Silva and attempted to ground and pound the champ.  It looked like Silva played dead as it looked like the Spider held onto Sonnen and closed his eyes.

Was Silva making a point by laying down in round 1 and then outstriking him in round 2?  For all of the hype, the fight was somewhat anti-climactic as Sonnen crumpled to the mat after a couple of Silva’s shots.  For all of the hype and the backing from fans , Sonnen’s performance in round 2 was disappointing.

Aside from the knee, Silva detractors will cite grabbing Sonnen’s shorts to avoid a takedown and rubbing the Vaseline on his brows onto his body during introductions as reasons to hate on the Spider.  But, you cannot deny Silva is one of the best fighters ever in the UFC.

It will be interesting to see what happens next.  Can the UFC really do Silva-Sonnen III based on this ending?  Its hard to say because Sonnen promos have been geared toward being an “Icon” and the “real champ”.  His post-fight

Griffin bolts before winning decision

Awkward.

That can describe the end of round 3 in the Forrest Griffin-Tito Ortiz fight.  At the end of the round, Griffin bolted the Octagon as he did in Philadelphia when he was outright humiliated by Anderson Silva.  While it’s easy to gather that he likely left because he believed that the judges would give the fight to Ortiz (and we know that Forrest is not the best of sports) for sentimental reasons it upstaged the final bout for Ortiz.

After receiving the UD, Griffin, apparently attempting to make amends, conducted the post-fight interview of Tito Ortiz.   To compound the confusion post-fight, Ortiz was heard complaining that he didn’t have his patented post-fight t-shirt which he was able to display at the very end.

It would have been nice if Griffin left after getting his hand raised.  That would leave Ortiz to soak up his fans and thank them for all the years of supporting him.  Instead, it was a rather awkward end to the Bad Boy’s career.  Ortiz will still be around MMA in some capacity (most likely commentator/guest analyst) and maybe a for Forrest a Griffin-Bonnar III would be a good Fox fight in the future.

40 year old Le gets first UFC win

Overshadowed by the main event was a very entertaining fight (and my pick for FOTN) between Cung Le and Patrick Cote.  Although Le was fading toward the end of the fight, he had enough to beat Cote.  Despite losing, Cote showed he could trade with the former Strikeforce Champ.  Le proved he still can be an asset to the UFC and it’s a no-brainer that he’ll be on the Macau card this November.  His international appeal is the reason for his lofty base salary.  As for Cote, he is still a respectable fighter and can be a mid-tier guy that can be gatekeeper for the division.

Bonuses

MMA Weekly reports the bonuses:

FOTN:  Griffin-Ortiz

KO:  Silva

Submissions:  None

All 3 received $75,000 each.  What about Chad Mendes’ KO of Cody McKenzie (who looked like a slim Mick Foley)?  Interesting that the 3 top salary earners from last night also received the bonuses.  It would have been nice to award a FOTN to Le-Cote.

Attendance

UFC 148 set an MMA attendance record for the state of Nevada with a reported $6.5 million gate $7 million.  It’s the biggest in the history of the state beating Ortiz-Liddell II from 2006.   The attendance for the event was 15,016.

Salaries

Forrest Griffin earned the highest salary of the night $275K ($150show/$175win) however it’s likely that Anderson Silva will make the most overall with his cut of the PPV.  Surprisingly, Chael Sonnen’s salary is relatively low compared to the amount he’s done in promoting the UFC (and himself).  Also, Cung Le took a significant pay cut from his UFC 139 salary of $350,000 to $150,000 at UFC 148.  Patrick Cote made $21,000 for his game effort.

Promotion for the Fight

A little surprising that the UFC did not do a three part UFC Primetime for this event.  Also a slight surprise that the lone UFC Primetime was not aired on Fox.   The UFC Countdown show was aired once in prime time during fight week.  One has to wonder if the UFC detoured from this platform for this event or whether it will be the norm.  With Sonnen , one would have to think the UFC wants him in front of a camera.  With the initial numbers, the UFC Prelim numbers on FX should be above average.

A unique promotion for this event included daily cartoons of Sonnen and Silva on the UFC Facebook page.  It also segued into a monetization opportunity as the UFC sold Sonnen/Silva cartoon hero t-shirts.

Jim Rome Smackoff in May.  Silva infamously added his own trash talk to the fight via UFC teleconference.

In addition to the main event, it was Tito Ortiz’s last fight with the UFC.  It was an added touch that he was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame during the same day as his last fight.  He did various media rounds and helped with promoting the card.  Ortiz is a polarizing figure but nostalgia has regained some popularity he may have lost.

The Las Vegas Review Journal provided some timely articles on the business of the week including the UFC obtaining a TRO to fight bootleg vendors and the economic impact of International Fight Week.  Based on the UFC report, the LVRJ wrote that Vegas expects an $140 million boost from this week’s activities.  It’s hard to fathom that this week could have that much impact despite factoring in the many fans flying in (including from Brazil).

The UFC also released several big fights of its co-main eventers.  Usually, you’d have to purchase them from the UFC library but the UFC granted fans the access.  It was a great way to highlight the fighters and get the casual fan interested in purchasing the PPV.

The UFC also bought ad space at the Facebook login page.  Did anyone see this?  The UFC also scoured the backgrounds of most major MMA web sites.


ESPN did an extensive job of covering UFC 148 including a Sonnen promo montage and featured the fight on its “What 2 Watch 4” segment at the end of Sportscenter Friday night.  In fact, it probably did more in on air promotion of the fight than Zuffa’s partners at Fox.  According to Dana White, ESPN hates the UFC.  I wonder how much it would promote the sport if it actually liked it.

International Fight Week

The UFC partnered with the Las Vegas Convention and Visitor Authority to sponsor International Fight Week.  The UFC Expo was a part of International Fight Week along with a plethora of events which took advantage of the Fourth of July holiday to entice visitors to come and stay for the fight festivities.

It included a session  where MMA media could be trained by UFC fighters.  Interesting way for the fighters to get back at those keyboard warriors.  Of course, some of them train full contact 4 times a week.

The thought is that this will be an annual event which would be a great way to work in conjunction with Las Vegas to promote tourism and the UFC.

Sponsorships

Ortiz sported Soul Headphones instead of the customary Beats, which has become the chique headphone for athletes.  The company had its logo on Ortiz’s shorts too.

Silva came out at the weigh in wearing a shirt with Burger King and Nike logos as well as his marketing agency 9ine.  It was interesting that his training shirt had a bigger Nike Swoosh than normal.  Also, Silva’s fight banner was adorned in swooshes. He was also sponsored by Philips.

Courtesy of MMAFighting.com

 

Edge Shave Gel took its turn as the sponsor in the prep zone.

Sonnen sported the MP of MusclePharm on his shorts.

UltimatePoker.com was on the mat among other places for UFC 148.

Odds and ends

How much would have a Faber-Cruz fight added to the interest of UFC 148?

Not only is Tito Ortiz out of business , the person that prints up Ortiz’s shirts is probably done as most shirts have sponsors all over them.

Ortiz-Griffin did that “soccer jersey exchange” thing but Griffin was seen wiping his face with Ortiz’s shirt.

Interesting that Silva shook the hand of Jon Jones before entering the cage last night.  Also, does Silva’s picture with LeBron James make you like or hate him more?

Can someone who speaks Portuguese confirm Anderson’s post-fight words to Chael about attending a barbecue?

Speaking of Silva, did anyone else think that Anderson Silva’s post-fight speech to the fans was reminiscent of Rocky Balboa at the end of Rocky IV?

The definition of gaunt was Demian Maia at weigh-ins. His face was reminiscent of James Irvin’s attempt at middleweight.  But, he won so that all that matters.

Conclusion

This was a big show for the UFC and it invested  a lot of promotion into creating a buzz for the Sonnen-Silva showdown.  The reported gate of $7 million shows the interest in this event and the UFC hopes it can bank on this equating to a huge PPV number.  I am a bit skeptical about whether it can do UFC 100 numbers as promoted by Dana White, but it may hit a respectable $800K buys.  A number like this could equate to a third fight between Silva and Sonnen for the end of the year.  But, based on the result, how much better could a third fight be and would Silva agree to a third fight against a fighter he’s beaten twice.

MMA Payout will have more on post-UFC 148 news this week.

UFC buys ad space on Facebook

July 3, 2012

UFC is pulling out all the stops for UFC 148 this Saturday including a huge ad buy for the login page of Facebook.

Payout Perspective:

With the daily cartoons of Silva and Sonnen, the free fights of the co-main eventers and now the Facebook ad on the front login page, the UFC is making a concerted effort to ensure that UFC 148 has the hype of UFC 100. But, will the promotional spending equate to PPV buys?

Hennessy debuts Pacquiao commercial

April 6, 2012

Manny Pacquiao’s first commercial with sponsor Hennessy was released earlier this week.  The commercial is part of the liquor brand’s “Wild Rabbit” campaign which is said to “redefine what it means to be a luxury brand,” according to Hennessy vice president Rodney Williams.

The commercial features the rise to greatness of Pacquiao from a young man in poverty to a successful boxer to a congressman.

Payout Perspective:

Pacquiao’s deal with Hennessy is for 1 year and $1 million dollars.  While the commercial is confusing at first, it accomplishes its goal of conveying a rags to riches story and is very well done.  What it has to do with the cognac I do not know but its a much better effort than the Pacquiao’s State Street Produce commercial.

More from Shanks and Fertitta at the World Congress of Sport

March 21, 2012

The Sports Business Daily/Journal had another short report from Fox Exec Eric Shanks and UFC head Lorenzo Fertitta at the 2012 World Congress of Sports.  The two spoke today at the conference during a panel discussion entitled, “How the UFC/Fox deal could be a game changer.”

For those wondering, here’s the synopsis of the talk from the brochure:

In 2011, Ultimate Fighting Championship expanded into South America and Asia, and continued its surge in popularity, particularly among the 18-34 year-old male demo. But it was the mixed martial arts organization’s seven-year agreement with Fox — to show UFC programming on the Fox broadcast network and cable TV channels FX and FUEL TV — that made the biggest splash. As part of the deal, dozens of live fights will be airing on Fox networks and, this spring, “The Ultimate Fighter” reality show will feature a new format that includes live fights, rather than prerecorded events. This session will take an inside look at the UFC/Fox agreement and its role in the growth of mixed martial arts. You will hear from Lorenzo Fertitta, Chairman & CEO, Zuffa (Ultimate Fighting Championship); and Eric Shanks, President & COO, Fox Sports.

Shanks and Fertitta spoke about the UFC-Fox deal and the issue of control being a huge factor in Zuffa’s decision to go with Fox.

Here are some additional highlights:

–  Shanks said that the 64 second JDS KO of Cain at UFC on Fox 1 wasn’t ideal but “it was exciting,” he added, “It was a knockout. It was a style of a knockout people were used to seeing. It could have gone a lot of other different directions.” As a result, it learned that fans want more action and less fluff (i.e., talking and promoting).

–  As indicated at the end of last year, the UFC and Fox are concentrating on expanding its advertising partners. In addition to sponsors RYU and MetroPCS signing on recently it has secured Dr. Pepper.  Its had success with the auto category but is still looking for sponsors in the financial services, insurance and other areas.

–  Shanks stated that there is still room to grow to procure blue chip advertisers but emphasized its strong 18-34 male demo.

–  Fertitta believes that more advertisers will sign on citing, as Shanks did, that it will take time for advertisers to understand the UFC audience.  He also cited the fact that the UFC has an “affluent fanbase” as the average income for fans is $80,000 a year and the average UFC ticket is the highest in sports at $275.

–  Fertitta also touched on the New York legalization issue stating that the brand will be elevated if (and when) MMA is legalized in the state.

Payout Perspective:

Nothing earth shattering from Shanks and Fertitta so don’t feel bad you weren’t in Dana Point, CA (the site of the World Congress of Sport) this morning unless you are a leader in sports business – in that case where were you?  Nonetheless, I find the average income of the UFC fan really high.  Of course, it’s not clear if Fertitta is referring to household income or that of an individual. Also, $275 for an average ticket is really steep and it’s ironic since we hear so much of the tons of comps that are given out at various UFC Vegas events.

It will be interesting to see what sponsors get onboard with the UFC this year.  It was expected for there to be some time for advertisers to get comfortable with the UFC product which Shanks and Fertitta acknowledge.  But, how long will it take?

UFC hard sell for advertisers while on Versus

February 20, 2012

The Sports Business Journal reported on the drop in ratings of NBC Sports Network as it rolled out its new name and brand last month. The article also comments on the fact that NBC found it difficult finding advertisers for the UFC when it was on the network.

For those that don’t know, NBC Sports Network was known as Versus prior to its re-branding at the start of the year. The SBJ article (subscription required) stated that NBC had a hard time finding advertisers for the UFC. Yet, UFC programming averaged 124,000 viewers on Versus. These ratings doubled the average for the channel. The article also states that the loss of the UFC has hurt NBC Sports Network ratings. Still, NBC described the UFC as “off brand,” a show that brought ratings but the network had a hard time finding a way to monetize it.

Payout Perspective:

While the UFC portion of the NBC Sports Network article was a small example compared to the overall theme of the article which was the slow start for the network, its an interesting take of the pull of the UFC. Its also an example of the obstacles the UFC still faces in trying to appeal to mainstream advertisers. We will see in the coming year if the UFC has problems on Fox, FX or Fuel with retaining and obtaining mainstream advertisers.

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