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• In response to the mass shooting that occurred in the early hours of August 4, 2019, The Dayton Foundation has established the Dayton Oregon District Tragedy Fund.

• "The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you've got it made."

• "I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member."

• "I intend to live forever, or die trying." — Groucho Marx RIP 8-19-1977

• Per NBC Sports: “A plane carrying Dale Earnhardt Jr., his wife Amy and their daughter Isla rolled off the end of a runway and caught fire upon landing today (Aug. 15)  in Elizabethon (Municipal Airport), Tenn. All (five people) aboard the plane (including two pilots) are safe.”The airport is about 14 miles south of Bristol Motor Speedway, where Earnhardt Jr. was scheduled to be part of the NBC Sports crew cowering this weekend’s Nascar races.

• Continuing its expansion into the sports betting landscape, MLB has signed a multi-year partnership designating FanDuel as an “authorized gaming operator” of the league. FanDuel called it a “landmark deal” as it marks the company’s first partnership with MLB or an MLB team. MLB also has alliances in the sports betting category that include MGM Resorts International, Draftings and Sportradar. Full story here.

• For future trivia buffs: ex-NFL and Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones has become the first player to officially sign with the XFL, which is scheduled to begin play in February 2020. Landry, who played in 19 games (five starts) during his NFL career (2013-18), mainly with the Pittsburgh Steelers, will be assigned to one of eight XFL teams via an eignt man QB draft scheduled for the fall. Financial terms were not released.
 

• Nick Kyrgios, currently ranked No. 27 in the world, has been fined $113,000 by the ATP relating to a series of incidents during his second-round loss at the Western & Southern Open Wednesday evening in Cincinnati, including five separate unsportsmanlike conduct situations, each a $20,000 fine.

• National consumer cannabidiol (CBD) brand cbdMD has signed a deal with reigning UFC heavyweight world champion, Daniel "DC" Cormier, which comes as Cormier is scheduled to defend his heavyweight title against Stipe Miocic at UFC 241 on Aug.17.

• T-Mobile said it would donate $2,000 per home run hit at the inaugural T-Mobile Little League Home Run Derby to Little League Baseball and Softball—pledging to hit at least $1 million in total donations in its first year of partnership. The money will fund participation grants to make programs more affordable for kids and families. The donation includes the $642,000 donated at the T-Mobile Home Run Derby at MLB All-Star Week.

• Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson has become an investor in the MLS Seattle Sounders, along with his wife, musician Ciara; as well as rap artist Macklemore and his wife Tricia Davis. The Sounders also said that founding owner Joe Roth is leaving the club.

NBA Opening Weekend presented by Kia national TV Games 2019-20:
Oct. 22 New Orleans Pelicans vs. Toronto Raptors (TNT), Los Angeles Lakers vs. Los Angeles Clippers (TNT); Oct. 23 Boston Celtics vs. Philadelphia 76ers (ESPN), Denver  Nuggets vs. Portland Trail Blazers (ESPN); Oct. 24 Milwaukee Bucks vs. Houston Rockets (TNT), Los Angeles Clippers vs. Golden State Warriors (TNT); Oct. 25 Dallas Mavericks vs. New Orleans Pelicans (ESPN), Utah Jazz vs. Los Angeles Lakers (ESPN).

• WNBA Teams, Players Now Part Of NBA 2K20: "We have arrived!" Full story here.

• The NFL said the Pro Bowl would return to Orlando's Camping Ground Stadium for the fourth successive year, scheduled for Jan. 26, 2020. It will air live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes and be simulcast on ABC (3 PM ET). Full story here.

• Pete Frates and Pat Quinn, co-founders of ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, have launched with The ALS Assn. the 5th anniversary of “Challenge Me” with a “new call to action to reignite the passion and generosity of the millions of people who dumped ice water on their heads in the summer of 2014.”

POLL POSITION

NBC Sports Group and Mecum Auctions have signed a multi-year partnership extension to continue coverage of Mecum car auctions across NBC Sports through 2024.

The top-five selling cars since the start of the partnership in 2014:
1, 1964 Ford GT40 Prototype GT/104 $7M (2014)
2, 2014 Ferrari LaFerrari $4.7M (2016)
3. 1966 Ford GT40 MkI $4.4M (2016)
4. 1933 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Coupe $3.85M (2018)
5. 1971 Plymouth Hemi Cuda Convertible  $3.5 (2014)

KEEPING SCORE

World's Most Valuable Sports Franchises

1. Dallas Cowboys $5 billion, +4%
2. New York Yankees $4.6 billion +15%
3. Real Madrid $4.24 billion +4%
4. Barcelona $4.02 bilion
5. New York Knicks $4 billion +11%
6. Manchester United $3.81 billion
7. New England Patriots 43.8 billion
8. Los Angeles Lakers $3.7 billion +12%
9. Golden State Warriors $3.5 billion +13%
10. New York Giants $3.3 billion

11. Los Angeles Dodgers $3.3 billion
12. Boston Red Sox 43.2 billion
12. Los Angeles Rams $3,2 billion
14. Washington Redskins $3.1 billion
14. Chicago Cubs $3.1 billion
16. San Francisco 49ers $3.05 billion
17. Bayern Munich $3.01 billion
18. San Francisco Giants $3 billion
19. Chicago Bulls $2.9 billion
19. Chicago Bears $2.9 billion

SOURCE: FORBES

BUY SELL

Weekend Box Office Aug. 16-18
1. Good Boys $21M
2. Hobbs & Shaw $14.1M
3. The Lion King $11.9M
4. Angry Birds 2 $10.5M
5. Scary Stories $10M
6. 47 Meters Down $9M
7. Dora and the Lost City of Gold $8.5M
8. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood $7.6M
9. Blinded By the Light $4.5M
10.The Art of Racing in the Rain $4.4M
Source: Box Office Mojo

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BodyArmor Into NCAA
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Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnfkenn121400.html#46Ul8rBF4XpB4lo0.99
Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnfkenn121400.html#JZxA5jXY4rCwemgZ.99
Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnfkenn121400.html#JZxA5jXY4rCwemgZ.99
Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnfkenn121400.html#46Ul8rBF4XpB4lo0.99
Channel Chasers

NFL UK 2019
• Oct. 6 Chicago Bears v Oakland Raiders Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
• Oct. 13 Carolina Panthers v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
• Oct. 27  Cincinnati Bengals v Los Angeles Rams Wembley Stadium
• Nov. 3 Houston Texans v Jacksonville Jaguars Wembley Stadium

NFL Mexico 2019
• Nov. 18 Kansas City  Chiefs v Los Angeles Chargers Mexico City Estadio Azteca (ESPN Monday Night Football).

Tuesday
Feb262013

Q&A: How State Farm Continues To Drive Its Game Plan With Rodgers, Paul, Sports

By Barry Janoff

February 26, 2013: Two of State Farm's best agents knew nothing about selling insurance until being hired by the Bloomington, Ill.-based firm.

Still, that hasn't prevented Aaron Rodgers, quarterback for the Green Bay Packers and MVP in Super Bowl XLV, from learning the intricacies of "Discount Double-Check." Nor has it stopped Chris Paul, All-Star point guard for the Los Angeles Clippers, from becoming so fanatic about assisting people that he enlisted the services of his "twin brother" Cliff to help.

Rodgers and Paul are not about to trade throwing passes and scoring points for a job explaining deductibles, comprehensive coverage, liability and personal injury protection. But they are currently at the forefront of marketing for State Farm, appearing in multi-media campaigns — Rodgers in "Discount Double-Check" and Paul in "Born to Assist," from DDB Chicago and Translation, NY, respectively — and also making personal appearances to help bring the humdrum yet complex category of insurance to a more accessible place.

Thanks to State Farm and Rodgers, the previously nondescript term, "Discount Double-Check," became one of the catchiest phrases of 2012. In a series of ads, Rodgers is upstaged by either his Packers teammates, including Clay Matthews and B.J. Raji, or kids during a school Career Day. And in every spot, he is mocked by someone decked out in a Green Bay cheese head, who yell at him, "Hey, Rodgers! Discount Double-Check!"

"Discount Double-Check" was also used in a baseball-themed spot that broke during the 2012 MLB All-Star festivities — which included the State Farm Home Run Derby — starring Kerry Wood and Andre Dawson and filmed at Wrigley Field. Between 2007-2012, State Farm and MLB donated millions of dollars to the Boys & Girls Club of America based on Home Run Derby performances. State Farm last year ended its official alliance with MLB (although it does have on-going team alliances) and will not be back as presenting sponsor for the Home Run Derby during the 2013 All-Star Game in New York's Citi Field this July.

The Paul-led campaign has given new meaning to "separated at birth," with both Chris and Cliff ultimately "born to assist." State Farm oversaw a giveaway of Cliff Paul mustaches and glasses during a Clippers game at Los Angeles' Staples Center, and broke a spot during the recent NBA All-Star weekend — which included All-Star Saturday Night presented by State Farm — in which Cliff Paul assists TNT hoops analysts Reggie Miller and Kenny Smith. Perhaps not by coincidence, Chris Paul was named MVP of the 2013 All-Star Game.

The Rodgers and Paul spots are running concurrent with such other State Farm marketing themes as "Jingle" (people sing the company theme to summon their agent) and "Fan Cam" (a State Farm agent and client do synchronized dancing during a game). Paul is also following in the footsteps of NBA star LeBron James, who appeared in State Farm ads for several years.

In addition to being an official partner for the NBA, State Farm's sports-related sponsorships include College GameDay Covered by State Farm on ESPN; a new iPad app, “NBA Game Time presented by State Farm," which accesses stats, video, scoring and game updates; naming rights to State Farm Arena, Hidalgo, Texas, which hosts the Central Hockey League's Killer Bees and the NBA D-League's Vipers; the State Farm Neighborhood Assist with the NBA; and 26 Seconds BMore, which works with athletes and educators to help prevent kids from dropping out of high school.

NYSportsJournalism.com spoke with Tim Van Hoof, assistant vice president of marketing communications for State Farm (and self-professed fan of the Green Bay Packers), about the impact of sports marketing on the company how that translates to the customers and communities in State Farm's reach.

NYSportsJournalism.com: What are the challenges you face in conveying what insurance is all about but using sports, entertainment and humor to do it?

Tim Van Hoof: That's a great question and something that we think a lot about. Insurance is something that people needed to have, that they have to have. But it is something that people really don't want to think about. It is a complex category. Very highly regulated by the government. Not something that people want to discuss or embrace. On the other hand, when you connect it to something like entertainment and sports, and add a little more excitement to the conversation, it is something that people will want to talk about. The challenge is to have an on-going, interesting presence that balances the entertainment and sports angles without making light of the subject.

NYSJ: If you look at others in the insurance category, the use of sports and entertainment is prevalent. So how do you differentiate the State Farm message from the competition?

TVH: If you look at the insurance category as a whole, the lines of insurance vary. With a lot of the competition, their messages tend to go far, far away from the product. It becomes something unrelated, not just from a brand level but also from a product level. But when we focus on auto insurance and have Aaron Rodgers talk about our 'Discount Double-Check, it is important to bring that back to how State Farm agents work to save customers money. The sports and entertainment side of it is important, whether it's using Aaron or, in our newest ads, Chris Paul to get the message out, or if we bring the message right into stadiums or arenas with sponsorship deals. But it always has to focus on the way State Farm agents are working for you.

NYSJ: Was State Farm surprised at how 'Discount Double-Check' became a catch phrase, even among people who are not customers, and was being mimicked by athletes who are not company endorsers?

TVH: [Laughs.] Even though that was a very strategic move, it also was, in part, a very happy accident. When we spoke with our agents about important messages they wanted to convey through advertising, our "Discount Double-Check" policy was cited [most often]. Basically, it refers to the fact that we double-check all policies to look for discounts we can provide to our customers, possibly if they are safe drivers, for example, of if they have home and auto policies with us. But we needed a way to convey that message in a way that would resonate with people. When we put Aaron Rodgers in [TV commercials], we were able to play off of his 'touchdown dance,' where he mimics putting on a championship belt after his team scores a touchdown, and turn that into the 'Discount Double-Check' move.

NYSJ: How did the alliance with Rodgers come about?

TVH: It is very important to us to work with athletes who we felt truly represented the brand. We're a fairly conservative brand, so we're very careful who we partner with. [In 2011], when we were looking to develop new creative, we already were in touch with Rodgers' agent. We loved how Aaron handled himself and how he was a leader on the Green Bay Packers. But we also knew that he is a bit of a prankster who doesn't mind poking fun at himself. We are a brand that is known for quality, but there also concerns from consumers about getting competitive rates. So when the creative discussions moved toward Discount Double-Check and how State Farm works hard to save money for our customers, it was almost like catching lightning in a bottle to marry Rodgers' touchdown dance move to a Discount Double-Check move.

"Whether it's using Aaron Rodgers or Chris Paul to get the message out, it always has to focus on the way State Farm agents are working for you."

NYSJ: Have you seen the marketing campaigns with Rodgers translate to an increase in brand awareness and an increase in State Farm policy purchases?

TVH: We don't have specific metrics tying Rodgers to an increase in State Farm policies. I can say that the volume of calls and the number of people requesting Discount Double-Check [information] are up significantly. And we have seen metrics that show our brand affinity and 'likability' have risen since the Rodgers and, more recently, the Chris Paul commercials have been airing. The commercials with Rodgers have been viewed more than three millions times at our YouTube page. And the first commercial with Chris Paul has been viewed nearly 700,000 times [since December].

NYSJ: The campaign with Paul seems to have spawned its own marketing cottage industry, with people wearing the glasses and mustache from 'twin' Cliff Paul. Was that, like the 'Discount Double-Check' situation, a happy accident?

TVH: It's interesting how that has happened. For us, it was a natural progression from discount double-check with Aaron Rodgers. When we were working with our agency, Translation, on this campaign, what we said was, 'How do we best convey the attributes of our brands, which is service and assisting people?' People in generally do not understand the intricacies of deductibles or the differences between collision and comprehensive coverage. That's what our agents and their teams are there for. So then we asked, 'How can be bring this to light ?' And because we also wanted to support our partnership with the NBA. we asked, 'How can we present this in an NBA environment?' The term 'assist' almost immediately came up, because it was such a key word in the NBA and for State Farm. So they came back to us with the idea of looking at the NBA's assist leaders, which brought us to Chris Paul. And that led to the 'Born to Assist' theme, separated at birth and on and on.

NYSJ: Chris Paul seems ready, willing and able to bring the Cliff Paul to life. Are you finding that people, like Rodgers, were generally unaware of his low-key comedic side?

TVH: When you find the right talent that makes sense from the company, the creative and the athlete sides, you tend go with it. I don't know everything about Chris Paul, but what he seems to be about as a person, and what he seems to be about on the court, really speaks to the message we are trying to convey. We asked him to be part of the creative discussions, and he was all about it. He came to the table with ideas and creative energy. We recently handed out Cliff Paul glasses and mustaches at a Los Angeles Clippers game in Staples Center, and [teammate] Blake Griffin wore them and [Clippers fan and actor/director] Billy Crystal wore them. And [Chris] was really supportive of that. We even have had people in the [corporate] office wearing Cliff Paul glasses and mustaches, so we are having fun with it.

NYSJ: During the NBA's All-Star weekend in February in New Orleans, there were some Cliff Paul sightings and a new TV spot with Cliff Paul and some of the analysts from TNT? How did that come about?

TVH: Chris was voted to the All-Star team, so he asked us if he could appeared [at events] dressed like Cilff. We even set up a shoot where Chris Paul interviewd Cliff Paul. (See it here.)He was totally into it. He wanted to bring Cliff to life. I would have to tell you that he pulled it off because the people who man our call centers and our agent offices were getting people asking if they could speak with Cliff Paul. And we spoke with the folks at TNT and the NBA about filming t a new commercial to have Cliff Paul work with Reggie Miller and Kenny Smith. It was a great collaborative concept, and it really blew up on Twitter and other social media.

NYSJ: State Farm is connected to college basketball and had a long relationship with MLB, in particular with the State Farm Home Run Derby, which has since ended. How important have those assets become?

TVH: That goes back to the original question about balancing sports and entertainment with the value messages of what State Farm is all about. We do a lot of creative testing, a lot of in-market testing. We monitor social media and feedback from the business community and business media. So when we get people talking about Aaron Rodgers or Chris Paul and saying they love the concept, or talking about College GameDay presented by State Farm, that helps us to make decisions about where or where not to direct our energy and finances.

NYSJ: Given all of this, are you finding that people are associating the creative with State Farm, or are they saying, 'I love the Rodgers, Chris Paul and Andre Dawson spots, but I don't remember the name of the company'?

TVH: That is something we are always are concerned about and well-aware of. It's a challenge. Whenever you use a celebrity or talent, you run the risk of being over-shadowed by them. And especially when there are other insurance companies that also use humor and celebrities to try to get their messages across. But the metrics we have gotten regarding Aaron Rodgers and brand awareness have been very good. And even though the Chris Paul campaign has been out only since Christmas, the early numbers we have seen on that also show that brand awareness is strong. With Rodgers, the numbers actually started out okay, but then built over time. I see the same thing happening as more people get to know Cliff Paul. We had Rodgers at an event for a group of State Farm agents recently, and he told us that the No. 1 thing that people ask him about is 'Discount Double-Check.'

NYSJ: Did he seem annoyed by that?

TVH: We truly believe that his association with us has helped to elevate his status as a pitchman. And he gets that. These guys do amazing things in their sport, but you wonder if they get irritated when people are calling out 'Hey, Rodgers,' 'Discount Double-Check' or 'Hey Cliff.' But these guys have embraced it. And, from our perspective, they have become associated with State Farm for all the right reasons. Whenever Aaron Rodgers shows up at an event, there is a connection between him and State Farm. Now, the goal is to continue the energy and the conversation for both Rodgers and Paul, and to make that connection even more in the eye of consumers. A big part of that has been social media, and I think we have been doing a good job of that with Chris Paul, even more so than with Aaron Rodgers and 'Discount Double-Check.'

"If people don't engage with the brand, buy from the brand, stay longer with the brand, then it's all been a lot of fun, but we've probably been wasting our money."

NYSJ: How important will Aaron Rodgers, Chris Paul and other sports marketing alliances be in 2013?

TVH: Let me put it this way: The entertainment has been great, and the positive side of working with Aaron Rodgers and Chris Paul has been strong. But I want to make sure that we look at it from a 360-degree standpoint. We also want to support our other efforts, such as the State Farm Neighborhood Assist with the NBA, where we provide grants to help improve communities; and the 26 Seconds BMore effort, in which we are working to decrease the number of kids who drop out of high school and increase the graduation rate. So there is the entertainment aspect in which we promote the concept of assisting, but there are also are efforts in which we assist that are not as glamorous and high-profile but have a strong impact.

NYSJ: What will be key to State Farm's marketing strategies?

TVH: We will continue to be diligent about driving the conversation and having some fun, but always coming back to moving the metrics in the right direction and understanding what the brand stands for with people. And with social media, it's all about having conversations and pushing the brand forward and creating more awareness and brand recognition. Ultimately, as much fun and as entertaining as it is to work with Aaron Rodgers and Chris Paul, its about the brand. If people don't get closer to the brand, engage with the brand, buy from the brand or stay longer with the brand, then it's all been a lot of fun, but we've probably been wasting our money.

State Farm Has Double-Vision With Chris/Cliff Paul

Hey (Aaron) Rodgers Returns For State Farm

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