By Barry Janoff
December 3, 2012: Manny Pacquiao, who on Dec. 8 will meet Juan Manuel Marquez in a non-title welterweight bout at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, has gone a bit nuts. Just don't say that to his face.
The 33-year-old Pacquiao, who has won titles in eight different weight classes, has signed a deal with Wonderful Pistachios to endorse the product and appear in a multi-media effort under the brand's "Get Crackin" umbrella campaign.
The effort is anchored by a TV spot that will break tonight on ESPN during the Monday Night Football game between the defending NFL Super Bowl champion New York Giants and the Washington Redskins, led by rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Paramount Farms, the parent company of Wonderful Pistachios, also said it has signed an endorsement deal with 20-year-old lightweight boxer Jose Ramirez, a member of the 2012 Olympic team and USA Boxing's all-time record holder with 145 wins, 11 national titles and six consecutive USA gold medals.
Ramirez is scheduled to make his pro boxing debut on the undercard of the Pacquiao-Marquez bout, which is the fourth meeting between the two boxers.
Paramount Farms said it began to sponsor Ramirez while he was training for the Summer Games in London, in part because he was "born and raised in Avenal, Calif., a rural agricultural community in the Central Valley and the same place where Wonderful Pistachios are grown."
The brand's alliance with Pacquiao is more financially motivated via his iconic status as a pro boxer and the fact that "this match-up is anticipated to draw millions of viewers" on pay-per-view.
In the spot, Pacquiao is shown throwing punches at a pistachio-green punching bag. A voiceover explains, "Manny Pacquiao does it . . . with a knockout punch."
Pacquiao then hits the bag with all his power and it explodes like a piñata filled with pistachios. "Wonderful pistachios," the voiceover continues. "Get cracking'."
Support includes Internet and social media destinations such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
Pacquiao, who is an elected official in his native Philippines, has also had endorsement deals with Hewlett-Packard, Nike and San Miguel Beer, among others. He made news earlier this year when he was quoted as being opposed to same-sex marriages.
"As athletes, Manny Pacquiao and Jose Ramirez are the epitome of physical health, and as one of the lowest calorie, lowest fat nuts, Wonderful Pistachios are an excellent snack choice for competitors and fans alike," Mark Masten, vp-global sales and marketing for Paramount Farms, said in a statement. "Sponsoring this fight is an opportunity for Wonderful Pistachios to reach the boxing community by having a presence at the main event, and with our consumers watching at home. It's a knockout win for all!"
Pacquiao, whose pro record in 54-4-2, joins a roster of Wonderful Pistachios Get Crackin' endorsers that includes Snoop Lion, characters from The Simpsons and Frankenweenie, "Drill Sergeant" R. Lee Ermey and and The Village People. The campaign is in its fourth year.
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