If you live in New York, or have friends that do, I’m betting your Facebook News Feed was inundated yesterday with links to a new 90-second Derek Jeter “farewell” ad that has the mere hint of a Gatorade logo at the end. There had been more than two million views of the YouTube version this morning — with more than a few fans writing that tears were flowing — just 18 hours after it was posted.
The spot had nearly 10,000 likes (as well as the usual 99 Sox fans weighing in with a thumbs down). It has also generated a few hundred stories in the mainstream media.
Set to Frank Sinatra’s “My Way,” which Jeter picked as a “fitting” theme song for his time in the Big Apple, “the 90-second, black-and-white ad shows the 40-year-old shortstop roll past a newsstand — with the Daily News prominently displayed — in his chauffeured car before asking the driver to stop and let Jeter walk the rest of the way up River Avenue to Yankee Stadium,” write Bernie Augustine and Anthony McCarron in — you guessed it — the New York Daily News.
“He greets some kids, stops by Stan's Sports Bar and soon gets engulfed by fans near the gates before eventually tipping his cap in uniform outside the dugout,” writes MLB.com’s Jake Kring-Schreifels.
“Mike Rendino, the general manager at Stan's, tells the Yankee captain he's been waiting for Jeter to walk into the bar since 1998, the year he started working there,” writes ABC News’ Anthony Castellano. “Jeter responds, ‘You never invited me,’ to a chorus of laughs from patrons.”
In Jeterian fashion, as Yankee announcers Michael Kay and John Sterling would put it, the Captain also “thanked the fans with his bat Thursday night in a way he hadn't the entire season,” Kring-Schreifels points out. He hit his first 2014 home run at the stadium in the sixth inning of the Yankees' 3-2 victory over the Blue Jays.
“The spot will air on TV for the first time Saturday on the YES Network and Fox,” reportsAdweek’s Michael McCarthy. A full-page print ad addressed to “New York” that Jeter wrote will run in Sports Illustrated and the New York Daily News on Sept. 28 and 29.
Gatorade “roped off a few blocks before a home game in the Bronx this July and ‘just kind of let Jeter go,’” Molly Carter, Gatorade's senior director of consumer engagement, tells McCarthy. Carter said both the print and video efforts were “a true collaboration between Derek and Gatorade.”
The ad comes at a time when sports sponsorships are, as they periodically tend to be, under fire.
The question came up at the Nike annual meeting yesterday when one shareholder asked brand president Trevor Edwards if “recent athlete incidents change your view on sponsoring professional athletes,” reports Sara Germano in the Wall Street Journal.
“Mr. Edwards responded that the company evaluates such incidents ‘on a case-by-case basis, really looking at that individual situation and making sure that we make our decisions really based on the situation at hand. And importantly, the facts that we know at that point in time,’” Germano writes.
Advertisers are “kvetching” about the National Football Leagues’ handling of the domestic violence incidences involving Rice, Peterson and others, as Marketing Daily’s Karl Greenberg commen t s today, but don’t look for them to pull their advertising. They’ve got nowhere else to go.
In a few short weeks, they won’t have the bulletproof Jeter to trot out either — at least in pinstripes.
“He represents the game like that's the guy you want to pattern yourself after, and when you have guys like that, the game needs them. To know he's on his way out, you're always looking for that next player that's going to be the next Derek Jeter or Cal Ripken,” Turner analyst and former teammate Gary Sheffield said the other day, reportsNewsday’s Neil Best.
As Ripken — similarly beloved, if in Baltimore — can tell you, the commercial opportunities don’t necessarily dry up once you’re in your civvies. But spots for the likes of New Day USA loans for veterans are on a decidedly different level than ones for Nike or Coke.