By Barry Janoff
March 9, 2015: With March Madness beginning to fill the sports landscape, iconic college basketball broadcaster, commentator and analyst Dick Vitale has joined a roster of celebs who tout the virtues of Oberto Beef Jerky.
Vitale is part of a new multimillion-dollar effort that also includes obstacle course series Tough Mudder, where Oberto is a partner, with the overall campaign "designed to further grow and differentiate Oberto's position in the exploding $3 billion plus meat snacks category."
The spot with Vitale and two spots with 2014 World's Toughest Mudder Champions Amelia Boone and Ryan Atkins, rrespectively, also feature Oberto spokesman and ESPN analyst and commentator Stephen A. Smith as "the little voice in my stomach."
Oberto said that its "You Get Out What You Put In" campaign, unveiled last year, and its on-going alliance with Smith has "further solidified our position as the No. 2 player in jerky," which is part of a "$3 billion plus meat snacks category." Smith has also appeared in the stomachs of athletes including Richard Sherman, Clint Dempsey and Louie Vitto.
Sitting on the sidelines while broadcasting a college basketball game, Vitale says using one of his signature phrases, "Oberto Beef Jerky is awesome, Baby!"
The new Vitale commercial supports a promotion being hosted by Oberto on a dedicated Web site in which people are asked to submit videos showing their best Dick Vitale impression, with the favorites to be decided by votes from the public-at-large in conjunction with Oberto. Support includes social media such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Prizes include basketballs autographed by Vitale, bags of Oberto Jerky and a grand prize of a trip for a meet-and-greet with Vitale. (Details here.)
According to Oberto, the Vitale spot will air in "heavy rotation" during College Basketball Championship Week on ESPN and during the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament across Turner Sports networks TNT, TBS and TruTV.
(Editor's note: The Tournament also airs on CBS but that is not part of Oberto's media buy.)
It will also run on cable networks including Comedy Central, AMC, Spike and The Esquire Network.
The spots with Boone and Atkins coincide with a new Tough Mudder obstacle, the Oberto Beef Jerky "Beached Whale."
The new campaign also includes Internet, social media, on-site sampling and consumer engagement.
"The Oberto partnership is helping us continue to grow our global team of Mudders through shared experiences and active lifestyles," Jerome Hiquet, CMO for Tough Mudder, said in a statement. "Tough Mudder and Oberto share values of teamwork and fun, and the opportunity to reach new audiences through a national television ad is a big step for our brand."
Vitale, who has been with ESPN since 1979, will be part of the broadcast team covering College Basketball Championship Week and then analyzing the Tournament through the Final Four.
According to Dave Lakey, vp-marketing for Seattle-based Oberto Brands, "Lean protein has become the craze with everyone from professional athletes to active Americans looking to stay physically fit. With our new Spring marketing efforts, Oberto is continuing its mission to change the traditional perception of beef jerky, while showcasing the benefits of our all natural, high-in-protein Oberto Beef Jerky."
In his new spot, Vitale is announcing a game in his usual over-the-top style.
"This Dapper Dan is a high riser!" yells Vitale as a player finishes a massive slam dunk. "He's a high-riser. He's the Elevator Man!"
Cut to Smith, who is wearing headphones and listening to music until Vital's histrionics interrupt his serenity.
"Dickie V! You're exhausting me, man," says Smith.
"I'm just caught up in the magic of the moment," Vitale replies.
Smith has a solution. "Why don't you get caught up and get us some Oberto Beef Jerky!"
"OBJ! Oberto Beef Jerky! This stuff is awesome, baby!" says Vitale. (See the full spot here.)
The first Tough Mudder spot sees Boone running through obstacles, with Smith feeling the brunt of the action until Boone placates the little voice in her stomach with Oberta Beef Jerky. (See the full commerical here.)
Separately, Vitale co-stars in a new commercial alongside David Robinson, former college hoops star and a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, to support the 20th anniversary of Pizza Hut's Stuffed Crust, which is available for a limited time at its original $9.99 price. Robinson starred in marketing for the brand when it launched Stuffed Crust.
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