ABC-Marshalls $25 Mil Deal

Apr 19, 2004  •  Post A Comment

Marking its first major entree into network TV advertising, department store chain Marshalls has inked a $25 million marketing deal with ABC Unlimited, The Walt Disney Co.’s integrated advertising sales and marketing unit.
Focusing on an association with the sport of figure skating and skating stars Sasha Cohen and Peggy Fleming, Marshalls will have branded messages on ABC Sports and specials on ABC, Disney Online and ABC TV and radio stations.
“This is all brand-new and incremental money,” said Bill Bund, senior VP of integrated sales for ABC Unlimited.
The retailer will be a presenting sponsor for skating programs, including “Marshalls World Skating Challenge,” a taped event that will air May 9. Last month in Providence, R.I., Ms. Cohen won the “Marshalls World Skating Challenge,” beating Michelle Kwan and others. Marshalls will sponsor another event in December.
“It gives Marshalls a leadership position in the retail business and gives them an event that skews very heavily female,” said Stacey Shepatin, senior VP and director of national broadcast for Hill Holiday of Boston, which buys media for Marshalls.
Customized vignettes will be produced for each event, focusing on the style and creativity of individual skaters, with voice-overs by Ms. Fleming. Later in the fall Marshalls will sponsor a Skate With a Star sweepstakes, where a winner will get to skate with Ms. Cohen. Marshalls will get signage at the skating events and tickets through a corporate sponsorship deal with the United States Figure Skating Association.
Locally, the eight ABC owned-and-affiliated stations and the 15 ABC owned or affiliated radio stations will be involved in producing tune-in spots and airing Marshalls commercials. ABC’s local outlets will tie in with Marshalls Skate Fest, a nationwide skills and event festival, in which Ms. Cohen will make appearances in Chicago, Houston and New York. Overall, the Marshalls Skate Fest will be presented in 650 arenas and will involve more than 100,000 participants.
“There’ll be hundreds of grass-roots events around the country,” Mr. Bund said.
For its Internet component, Marshalls will work with Disney Online (disney.go.com) to create an area where users can put different fashion outfits on a likeness of Ms. Cohen. Marshalls is mostly a fashion department store; its core consumers are women 25 to 54.
Other marketing components will extend to figure skating sports programming, such as the World Championships on ESPN. Marshalls also will have exposure on some 22 Web outlets.
Other large integrated sales groups, such as Viacom Plus and Time Warner’s Global Marketing Solutions group, competed for the Marshalls business. “The fact they were able to leverage [Disney’s] national, local, and online media was a good deal,” Ms. Shepatin said. “It is a much more integrated deal than we have done in the past.”
Media executives estimated the paid-advertising media for the deal is in the $10 million to $15 million range, with the overall promotional value set at $25 million. Like most integrated deals, the ABC-Marshalls agreement took a long time to evolve, with initial talks starting last July.
Last September ABC Unlimited Network entered into a wide-ranging and unusual $10 million deal with the U.S. Treasury Department to market the new blue, peach and green $20 bill.