Pacquiao lands HP endorsement deal

By Paolo Montecillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines?Silicon Valley tech giant HP is hoping that the global appeal of Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao can help boost the company?s sales in the tablet computer sector currently dominated by trendsetter Apple Inc.

Pacquiao?s first global endorsement deal, estimated to be worth $1 million a year, was announced ahead of the pound-for-pound king?s welterweight championship fight against Shane Mosley in Las Vegas.

HP?s new 9.7-inch TouchPad computer, which will hit stores later this year, is expected to go head to head with Apple?s widely successful IPad 2 Tablet launched last April.

The campaign will include television, radio, print, outdoor and billboard components, all of which will feature the fighter, and run globally, Singaporean marketing website CampaigninSingapore.sg reports.

HP?s local office refused to confirm the deal without the official announcement by its head office in the US.

Pacquiao?s promoter Top Rank said many potential sponsors had expressed frustration for their inability to sign a personal endorsement deal with the boxer. This was due to the confusion on which entity represented Pacquiao in international advertising deals.

Up until signing the deal with HP, Pacquiao?s endorsements were limited to the Philippines.

"We've heard frustrations from many companies about their inability to explore personal endorsement and/or corporate branding opportunities with Manny Pacquiao,? Top Rank CEO Bob Arum and president Tod DeBoef said on a post on company?s website.

Top Rank said it went on to explain that in an effort to eliminate confusion, marketing veteran Lucia McKelvey has been hired as the point person on all commercial opportunities for Pacquiao.

The HP deal was signed through agency William Morris, which approached HP when it learned the brand was looking for a select group of high-profile entertainers and athletes to feature in the campaign, a report by Sports Business Daily?posted on the Top Rank website?showed.

Top Rank also recently signed a licensing deal for Pacquiao that would place his name and likeness on a line of vegetables from San Antonio-based company State Street Produce, which grows in Mexico and distributes to restaurants across the US.

State Street will rename its product "Pacquiao's Produce,? McKelvey said, using his name and likeness as it expands its distribution. ?Pacquiao's face will appear on bags, boxes and delivery trucks,? Sports Business Daily said.

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