Universal Parks and Resorts and Nestlé Waters North America struck a 10-year marketing agreement that will link Nestlé with Universal theme parks in the U.S. for the first time.
Nestlé brands such as Arrowhead, Deer Park, Zephyrhills, Perrier and San Pellegrino will become the “official waters” of Universal Orlando and Universal Studios Hollywood and CityWalk Hollywood.
The deal includes family-targeted promotions and sponsorships, such as Nestlé’s title sponsorship of the new Shrek 4D attraction opening this summer at Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Studios Florida.
The agreement also calls for retail sweepstakes, on-package promotions, radio and Internet promotions and outdoor ads on Nestlé Waters delivery trucks in Orlando and Los Angeles. A retail promotion kicks off this summer.
While the agreement only includes the amusement parks, Nestlé anticipates expanding to other properties. “This is more of an adult park based on their relationship with movies,” says Jodie Adolfson, marketing presence manager at Nestlé Water. “We can see tying into their movie and music properties in the future.”
Long-term marketing deals between brands and amusement parks are proliferating. Earlier this year, Vivendi Universal Entertainment named MasterCard the official payment brand and preferred card of Universal Entertainment’s theme parks, movies, music and Internet properties (April PROMO). Elsewhere, Visa struck a similar 10-year agreement with Walt Disney Co.
Sketchers USA has settled mutual breach of contract lawsuits with Britney Spears. Details of the settlement were not revealed. In December 2002, Spears filed a $1.5 million lawsuit against the Manhattan Beach, CA-based company, claiming that the company used her image to promote its own 4 Wheelers By Sketchers instead of the Britney Spears 4 Wheelers as was agreed upon in a three-year licensing pact (February PROMO). The lawsuit also claimed that Sketchers was slow at finding an outside manufacturer to produce the skates and that the company used her likeness before the Britney 4 Wheelers were available. Sales were low and Spears did not receive bonus royalties, the suit claimed. Spears also contended that Sketchers dropped out of a concert sponsorship, part of the three-year deal signed in January 2002. In March, Sketchers filed a suit against Spears and her companies Britney Brands, Inc. and Britney Touring, Inc., alleging that the singer was at fault for not following the contract. The suit said that she did not approve designs and manufacturers for her clothing and accessory line, which caused the company to miss the fall season. Sketchers sought damages in excess of $10 million.
Michael Jordan may have hung up his sneakers for the last time but Beaverton, OR-based Nike glommed onto new blood by signing 18-year-old former high school basketball star and NBA draft first pick LeBron James to an endorsement deal worth more than $90 million. Nike beat out Reebok International and Adidas-Salomon for James, who will serve as a Nike endorser for a reported seven years. Nike also gave 13-year-old soccer phenom Freddy Adu, a member of the U.S. under-17 national team, a $1 million contract. A native of Ghana, Adu became a U.S. citizen earlier this year.
Chinese basketball star Yao Ming appears to be grasping the fine points of Western-style marketing as quickly as a zone defense. Yao announced that Atlanta-based Coca-Cola is using his image without permission on a new line of commemorative Coke bottles in China that feature Yao and two other members of the Chinese national team.
“I have never permitted Coca-Cola to use my image to promote their products,” Yao said in a statement. “I require Coca-Cola to withdraw immediately all the products bearing my image and all promotional materials which use my name or images.” Yao is suing Coca-Cola for 1 yuan (about 12 cents) for “spiritual and economic losses” and asking that Coca-Coca China apologize in the Chinese media. Coca-Cola said it can use Yao’s image under a three-year deal it signed with the Chinese Sports Management Company, which gives the soft drink giant permission to use pictures of the national team on products.
Meanwhile, Yao announced a new international deal with Purchase, NY-based Pepsi. Yao, who inked a U.S. sponsorship with Pepsi’s Gatorade brand earlier this year, will be featured on Pepsi cans, posters and TV spots in China. He may also appear in Pepsi promotions in the U.S.
Meanwhile, Reebok, Stoughton, MA, bounced back with even younger talent, tapping three-year-old basketball phenomenon Mark Walker Jr. for a new TV campaign. The TV spots feature Walker displaying his skills and the tagline “Do You Have a Mark Walker in the Family?” while inviting viewers to submit e-mails and tapes of their own child athletes. If response is strong, Reebok could pitch TV networks on turning the campaign into its own reality show, according to media reports. Walker is being paid with a college trust fund to protect his amateur standing for high school or college athletics in the future.
United Airline’s UAL Loyalty Services has partnered with Advantex Marketing International to let members earn mileage awards while shopping at local, regional and national retailers. While Advantex also helps United with the online Mileage Plus Mall, members can now earn points when they physically shop at brick-and-mortar retailers.
Mileage Plus Visa card members will automatically earn miles when they use their card. Other credit cards can be registered for the program through Toronto-based Advantex. The program is slated to begin this fall.
Tommy Hilfiger USA acquired exclusive name-in-title sponsorship rights to plaza stages at 10 Clear Channel Entertainment ampitheaters around the country. The plaza stages will be branded the Tommy Jeans Stage. Hilfiger can produce fashion shows or other live events on the stages during the summer concert season, offer branded apparel to performing artists, partner with retailers, display and distribute fragrance samples. The deal also permits ads on video monitors and ad placement in official concert program books and signage at designated areas throughout the venues. Last year, Tommy Hilfiger bought exclusive sponsorship rights to Clear Channel’s Jones Beach theater on Long Island.
In an effort to cut costs, American Airlines is renegotiating naming rights agreements at sports venues in Dallas and Miami. The company has reportedly reached an agreement with the American Airlines Center in Dallas to sell back ad space to offset the costs of its $195 million, 30-year naming rights deal with the arena. Reports say negotiations are ongoing for a similar deal with American Airlines Arena in Miami, which has a 20-year, $42 million naming rights agreement in place. Meanwhile, the Transportation Department has approved a deal between American Airlines and British Airways to sell each other’s seats on nonstop flights between the U.S. and London. The airlines’ have an existing agreement that lets customers earn frequent flyer miles on each other’s flights.