LPGA Tour Pro Michelle Wie's New Partnership With StarKist-5 Takeaways

By Ron Amodio

Originally Posted on Colvin Sports Network.

LPGA Tour Pro Michelle Wie, New Brand Ambassador For Starkist Tuna Creations, Insights helpful to corporate buyers of golf sponsorships.Recently, IEG published its Annual Review & Forecast of Sponsorship Spending projected for 2016. According to the findings, the properties that will continue to win the lion’s share of sponsors’ marketing dollars are those that can deliver customized benefits, integration with digital and social content, insights from audience data and top-notch servicing.

Photo (left):LPGA Tour Pro and Super Star Michelle Wie with StarKist’s “Charlie The Tuna” as they appear in tweet below.

Based on the aforementioned deliverables, we think that LPGA Touring Professional Michelle Wie’s new endorsement deal with StarKist further validates IEG’s conclusions. That said, here are five takeaways that make Michelle Wie attractive to sponsors.

1. Authenticity

According to StarKist’s press release, Michelle was already a loyal fan of StarKist’s single-serve, flavored seafood pouches and made them an integral part of her busy and healthy lifestyle. This factor made their partnership a perfect fit.

To further customize the benefits the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open Champion delivers, she’ll be contributing recipes and tips on behalf of the brand that fit with her active way of life.

2. Social Media Savvy

As gleaned from the tweet below, social media campaigning will be a key component of Michelle’s representation of StarKist products including Tuna Creations flavors such as “Lemon Pepper,” ‘Sweet & Spicy,” Hot Buffalo Style,” ‘Ranch,” and “Hickory Smoked” as well as their Salmon Creations in ‘Lemon Dill” and “Mango Chipotle” flavors.

It’s likely that what the social media savvy Michelle has demonstrated with regard to her other well known sponsors (i.e.,Nike, Kia and Omega) also played a role in StarKist’s decision to sign the Big Wiezy as the company’s newest spokesperson. As Arnold Palmer did in his heyday, Michelle seamlessly promotes her sponsors’ products at opportune moments that are part of her “on-the-go” lifestyle. And she does so with social media (e.g., michelle wie twitter) and digital tools (nonexistent in the Mad Men Era) that can be used to uncover insights from audience data.

3. Cross-Over Appeal

Here, Michelle’s cross-over appeal offers more opportunities to deliver benefits that can be customized and folded into Starkist’s media strategy. As noted in seafoodsource.com, Wie is slated to appear in StarKist’s multimedia campaigns such as those to be featured in Eating Well and Better Homes & Gardens.

4. Retail Partner Tie-Ins

As Mark McCormack frequently opined, the calendar is loaded. In the case of Michelle’s playing schedule, the opportunity exists for StarKist to tie-in their Tuna Creations promotions with retail partners who just happen to be title sponsors respectively to three LPGA Tournaments: Shop-Rite Classic in Atlantic City, New Jersey; Meijer Classic, Belmont, Michigan; and Walmart NW Arkansas Championship, Rogers, Arkansas.

5. Integration With Fun Concept That Reaches Youth

As noted in the aformentioned StarKist press release, part of Michelle’s brand ambassador duties include being the face of their new Kid’s Creations tuna pouches. To that end, the opportunity exists for StarKist to leverage Michelle’s role as PGA Junior League Golf Ambassador by associating their brand with a fun concept that reaches kids 13 and under while helping to grow the game.

All of the above assets can be further and fully leveraged if Michelle performs well over the first part of the season and qualifies to compete in the Golf Olympics for Team USA in Rio this summer.