by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
Even with ESPN re-affirming its ban on UFC commercials on all their networks, as part of a larger policy to ban advertising and promotion of any sports program that does not air on a Disney-owned network, the UFC is still managing to get onto ESPN’s commercial airwaves in the form of contract fighter endorsements.
In the most recent example of a UFC fighter participating in a nation-wide ad campaign, former Heavyweight Champion Andrei Arlovski has begun appearing in commercials for Wahl brand beard/moustache/body trimmers as part of their “Use the Right Tool” campaign.
In the commercial, which can be viewed in its entirety at the popular YouTube.com website [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=718ogws2jiU], Arlovski shadowboxes in a ring and strikes a victorious pose at the end, exposing his trademark fanged mouthpiece.
The commercial has played numerous times on the ESPN family of networks, including the main ESPN channel, ESPN2 and ESPNews.
Wahl’s “Use the Right Tool” marketing campaign is one of the largest in the company’s history and according to a recent press release, “The campaign will generate more than 215 million media impressions in a concentrated sixth month period and help to increase Wahl’s brand awareness on a national and local level.”
“The media will include print advertising in FHM, Maxim and Stuff launching in July 2006. The television ads will be placed on top broadcast networks during shows with a high percentage of male viewers. In addition, Wahl will be a sponsor of Monday Night Football radio broadcasts,” further states the release.
Monday Night Football, which has been a staple on US television for 30 years, was transferred from ABC to ESPN [both owned by parent company Disney] this year and has already garnished ESPN with some of the highest ratings the network has posted in its history.
Arlovski, known for his various facial hairstyles over the years, made a natural choice for the campaign as he lives and trains in Chicago, Illinois – the same city that Marketing Support Inc. is based in – the marketing firm Wahl teamed up with for the “Use the Right Tool” campaign. Similarly, Wahl’s worldwide headquarters are based in Sterling, Illinois, which is around 120 miles from Chicago.