Woolf Associates Mixes Sports, Food

Boston Marketing Firm Concocts Flutie Flakes, Glavine Marinara
BOSTON–What kind of shelf life do professional athletes have in supermarkets? Buffalo Bills quarterback Doug Flutie and Atlanta Braves pitcher Tom Glavine will soon find out.
Flutie Flakes cereal and Glavine Marinara all-natural pasta sauce are due to hit supermarkets this fall.
Woolf Associates in Boston brokered separate deals for the sports stars with PublicLabel Brands, a food manufacturer in Pittsburgh. While terms of the deals were not disclosed, PublicLabel president Ty Ballou said the players receive royalty payments on each item sold.
Aimed at raising the athletes’ profiles while contributing a percentage of the profits to charity, the deals may also help Woolf market Flutie and Glavine for other endorsements.
“It shows their versatility and personality off the field,” said Kim Parsons, assistant director of athlete marketing at Woolf.
Flutie, the former Boston College quarterback who won the Heisman Trophy in 1984, will see his sugary cereal sold in supermarkets throughout Boston and Buffalo.
Glavine’s pasta sauce, available in herb and garlic, will be sold in Greater Atlanta supermarkets such as Kroger.
The products are not expected to grow beyond the markets in which they are introduced.
While Ballou said the name on the cereal and pasta sauce may be what motivates consumers to try the products, their quality will drive repeat purchases. Some brand consultants are wary of the idea, however.
“Using a public figure is always a high-risk proposition,” said managing director Jeffrey Hill of Meridian Consulting Group in Westport, Conn. Hill dismissed the product viability as a “small idea” but said there could be merit to “marketing the individual” and presenting the sports figures in markets where they are well known.
PublicLabel Brands drew the attention of Parsons after it concocted a creamy peanut butter for Pittsburgh Penguins star Jaromir Jagr almost two years ago. Since then, PublicLabel has launched a half-dozen products or product lines on behalf of sports celebrities.
Woolf, an independent firm owned by Arnold Communications chairman Ed Eskandarian, Larry Moulter and hockey legend Bobby Orr, is in the process of negotiating food contracts with other sports-related celebrities. In the works are a chunky soup for Buffalo Sabers goaltender Dominik Hasek and a salsa for fitness guru Cory Everson of ESPN2 fame.