Below is a news summary by Ashleigh Bryson, an Entertainment Management student at Missouri State University.
(from Sports Business Journal, May 7, 2012) Reebok has re-signed longtime endorsers Eli and Peyton Manning, the strongest evidence yet that, while its brand will no longer be seen on NFL fields, the company isn’t abandoning marketing around the league. Reebok has been NFL’s exclusive jersey supplier over the past decade. Nike took over the jersey rights for the next five years. Reebok had the decision to keep its footwear on the NFL fields, but didn’t want to go in the same direction that Nike took for the past decade. However, the decision to keep the Manning’s, who both share a great market appeal, couldn’t retain from having them as endorsers.
John Lynch, Reebok Vice President and Head of U.S. Marketing stated, “Clearly, we’re still using athletes, NFL or otherwise, in our marketing,” and noting several other NFL players under contract with Reebok. Peyton Manning has been a Reebok endorser since 2002. Eli has been a Reebok endorser since entering the league in 2004. Lynch then stated, “Do we need hundreds of athletes? We don’t think so, especially after our NFL rights have expired.”
Reebok’s new trend of will be gear towards lightweight footwear. The campaign is scheduled to be shot in June in Peyton Manning’s new hometown of Denver, Colorado. The Manning brothers will be the centerpiece of a back-to-school campaign for the new and lighter version of the Reebok’s Zig technology. “NFL athletes, or any other pro athletes, are among the most fit people and they are a great example for our training shoes and ‘fit for life’ vision,” Lynch said.
Aside from all the NFL players, Reebok’s athlete roster will include a various number of baseball and hockey players. Reebok is still employing hip-hop musicians as endorsers for its Classics line, as well, including Tyga and Rick Ross. The expansion of Reebok endorsers will continue to grow, no matter where some rights expire along the way.