By Barry Janoff
Panini is here for you. The company has jump-started the 2013 NFL campaign with the unveiling of trading cards for the 40 rookies who attended a photo shoot and a related NFL Players Assn. Rookie Premiere conference held in Los Angeles earlier this month.
Although not quite as stellar as the rookie Class of 2012 — which included Robert Griffin III, Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson, Doug Martin and Alfred Morris — the Class of 2013 does have a core nucleus of players who already have received national attention. They include Geno Smith (New York Jets), EJ Manuel (Buffalo Bills), Dion Jordan (Miami Dolphins), Tavon Austin (St. Louis Rams), Matt Barkley (Philadelphia Eagles) and Manti Te'o (San Diego Chargers).
The cards will be part of the company's 2013 Prestige Football release this summer. Marketing support for Panini includes TV, print, Internet and social media destinations including Twitter and Facebook. Geno Smith is expected to be the face of marketing and packaging.