All Articles Tagged "sports endorsements"

How One Company Tapped Into Michael Vick’s Battered Image

April 14th, 2011 - By TheEditor
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(Wall Street Journal) — With the national media buzzing about sports-related concussions last year, Unequal Technologies figured it would be easy to generate publicity about its impact-absorbing sports equipment. But after pitching media outlets for several frustrating months, executives could hardly grab a headline.  Then, in November, the manager of controversial Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick phoned Unequal Chief Executive Rob Vito. Mr. Vick, who had been wearing retrofitted Unequal football pads all season, wanted to be Unequal’s official spokesman.

Mr. Vito—who had been involved in fitting the player with the specially tailored equipment—was intrigued, but his advisory board was skeptical, sparking a heated boardroom discussion. “One of our consultants said we would be committing ‘business suicide’ if we hired Michael Vick,” Mr. Vito recalled. “We’re a small company. We can’t afford that kind of backlash, where a package’s Sporting Goods or a Modell’s says, ‘Hey, because you have Michael Vick, we’re not going to carry you in our stores.’ “Even with Mr. Vick’s brand tarnished from the highly publicized dog-fighting scandal— which landed him in jail for a year and a half and prompted companies, including Nike and Coca-Cola, to drop him—Mr. Vito sensed an opportunity. If the sporting world could be made aware that Unequal’s football pads had helped Mr. Vick’s spectacular comeback from a rib injury, it could help Unequal attract orders from NFL teams and football moms alike. Ultimately, he was able to convince his company to sign Mr. Vick.

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Negotiating and Networking, the Other All-Star Sports

February 21st, 2011 - By TheEditor
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(ESPN) — It was after 1 a.m. Monday when I finally got a response to the question that had been on my mind for a full day after Blake Griffin provided the defining image of All-Star Weekend (above): What’s going to happen to the car?  The moment Baron Davis popped up through the sunroof to throw an alley-oop pass that Griffin grabbed as he flew over the hood on his way to a two-handed dunk, the signature slam of a revived contest, this instantly became the coolest Kia ever. Let’s face it, pulling up to the club’s valet line in a Kia wouldn’t get any heads turning in your direction under normal circumstances. But pulling up in the Kia Optima that Blake Griffin dunked over? Baller status. I’d leave the Sprite Slam Dunk stickers on the doors, just to let ‘em know.

From what I was told, the car will be given to the Clippers, who will then donate it or sell it in a manner they see fit. I suggest they auction it and either give the money to the family of Wilson Holloway, Griffin’s high school teammate who died from complications of Hodgkin’s lymphoma last week, or use the proceeds to start a scholarship fund in Holloway’s name at Tulsa, where Holloway played football.  That won’t be the end of the connection between the car and Griffin. You’ll be seeing the two together in Kia advertisements, something that had been in the works for weeks after Griffin decided he wanted to do the dunk. He let the NBA know he was going to dunk over a car, and the league made sure that car would belong to a league partner, which Kia has been for four years.

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Vick Scores 1st Endorsement Deal Since Arrest

January 27th, 2011 - By TheEditor
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(AP) — Michael Vick is back pitching products.  Vick has signed his first paid endorsement contract since his release from prison. The Philadelphia Eagles’ Pro Bowl quarterback inked a two-year contract with Unequal Technologies, a provider of the football pads Vick wore most of last season.  The deal will be announced on Thursday.  ”We’re real excited about it,” chief executive officer Rob Vito said Tuesday. “Michael is good people. He paid his dues. President Obama reached out to him. He deserves an opportunity. This is what makes America so great. He’s moved forward. He’s a whole other person.”

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