McDonald’s Corp. is teaming up basketball stars Michael Jordan and Larry Bird for the first time in a major campaign to air on the Super Bowl.
But as one of McDonald’s biggest Super Bowl campaigns gets set to air Jan. 31, some insiders say privately that McDonald’s executives may be thinking twice of re-signing Jordan in an effort to use its sports marketing dollars more efficiently.
Jordan’s agent David Falk, denied that Jordan and McDonald’s wouldn’t continue the relationship. ‘There’s not a chance in hell (McDonald’s) won’t renew the contract.’
A spokesperson for McDonald’s said: ‘We’ve had a great relationship with (Michael Jordan) for many years and wouldn’t discuss any aspect of his contract with anyone.’
But McDonald’s insiders say that the hamburger chain is looking for less expensive alternatives with its sports marketing programs and is looking to get more mileage for its buck. Whether that may include not re-signing Jordan remains to be seen.
‘I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t bring him back,’ said one agency source close to McDonald’s. ‘They’ve really diversified into other sporting areas. They are looking for more efficient ways to spend their money in sports.’
For the first time last year, McDonald’s signed a deal with NASCAR’s Junior Johnson racing team and hired an executive, John Somsky, as its director of auto racing, a new position.
In the meantime, McDonald’s is going all out with Jordan during the Super Bowl. Reminiscent of the Coca-Cola spot where teammate Scotty Pippen and Phoenix Suns star Charles Barkley square off on the court for a Coke, Jordan and Bird square off in the Chicago Stadium for McDonald’s. Another humorous spot takes the two to the top of the Sears Building.
Both a 60-second and 30-second spot are in the works.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)
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