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Friday
Nov132009

Diaego's Captain Morgan Ambush Effort 'Rums' NFL The Wrong Way

November 13, 2009: The NFL is serious about stopping ambush marketing, since its partners pay a lot of money to gain "official" status. Captain Morgan is equally cavalier about a viral marketing campaign in which it offered to make a charitable donation of $10,000 for every NFL player who struck the "Captain Morgan" pose after a touchdown.

Philadelphia Eagles TE Brent Celek took up the offer on Nov. 8, putting his hands on his hips and raising one leg, ala the Captain Morgan pose made famous in the rum's marketing campaign, after scoring on an 11-yard pass from quarterback Donovan McNabb. But the NFL has since banned the move. The money was going to the Gridiron Greats Assistance Fund, a nonprofit group that aids retired NFL players. Parent company Diageo said it planned to raise the donations to $25,000 for the playoffs and $100,000 in the Super Bowl.

MillerCoors is an official partner of both the NFL and Gridiron Greats, but the NFL said the issue involved was more than protecting its marketing partners.

"The issue is that players are specifically prohibited under our policies from wearing, displaying, promoting or otherwise conveying their support of a commercially identified product during a game while they're on the field," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told Yahoo! Sports. "Whether it's rum or soft drinks or any other commercial product, that type of promotion is prohibited."

Gridiron Greats, whose board of directors includes Mike Ditka, Gale Sayers, Marv Levy and Jimmy Johnson,  has not publicly responded.

Diageo did respond, albeit tongue-in-cheek, which likely won't endear the company to the NFL. "Captain Morgan here. As you know I believe in celebrating legendary times with my fans and my friends and always doing so in a socially responsible manner. I am a man of action, a man of the moment, and I always make fun a priority. And when it comes to football what is more fun than a touchdown? I believe in drinking responsibly, marketing responsibly and helping charities too, but understand my friends at the NFL's perspective. I will continue in my quest for legendary times and ask my fans to do the same."

Figure it mission accomplished for Captain Morgan and Rogers & Cowan, Los Angeles, which handles Captain Morgan promotions, as the ambush and ban has received national attention in the press. It also has brought attention to Gridiron Greats and the plight of retired NFL players.

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