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Rauner airs Ditka ad during Bears game *** Comments opened ***

Sunday, Sep 7, 2014

* If you happen to be watching today’s Bears game, you may have just seen a new ad featuring Bruce Rauner and Mike Ditka. From a press release…

Bruce Rauner just launched a new television advertisement and digital campaign featuring Mike Ditka.

Visit www.DitkaTough.com to watch the ad and learn more.

The spot aired moments ago during the Chicago Bears regular season opener against the Buffalo Bills.

* If you weren’t watching, or were channel surfing during the commercial break, here it is

That’s one of the best Ditka ads I’ve seen in a long while.

I’ll open comments on Monday.

* Crain’s ran a story not long ago about Ditka’s broad appeal

Seventy-one percent of sports fans in the United States know who Mike Ditka is, according to New York-based Q Scores Co., which polls 2,000 fans ages 13 to 64 nationwide every six months. That makes him the second-most-recognizable sports figure with strong Chicago ties, behind only Michael Jordan (87 percent) and more prominent than Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (68 percent), former Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher (62 percent) and Bulls guard Derrick Rose (61 percent). […]

Mr. Ditka’s agent, Steve Mandell, declines to say how much his client pulls in, but industry experts peg his annual take at $2 million to $3 million. Messrs. Jordan and Rose likely are the only Chicago sports personalities who earn more each year from product deals. In the 32 years since he became the Bears’ head coach, Mr. Ditka, 74, has made far more than he earned playing or coaching and still commands up to $250,000 per national brand endorsement, according to media buyers who have worked with him. […]

Mr. Ditka’s reputation as a hard-nosed, working-class American also stretches across generations, says Stormy Simon, co-president of Salt Lake City-based Overstock.com, which used him and former Bears quarterback Jim McMahon in a series of ads in December. The coach, her research showed, even connected with kids born after Mr. Ditka’s coaching career ended.

“They didn’t know his success from football. They knew him as ‘Juice Box,’ “ she says, a reference to his character in the 2005 movie “Kicking & Screaming.” “He’s just this guy who keeps himself relevant in various ways.”

…Adding… Pearson

Ditka, who has licensed his name for clothing, wine, Bloody Mary mix and sausages, was not paid for the spot, Rauner spokesman Mike Schrimpf said in an email.

…Adding More… From a Democratic strategist…

I can’t recall the last time I saw polling for Ditka, but I guarantee you he isn’t a strong mover with independent women in the suburbs. It’s a dumb strategy, just like most of the TV spending in that race.

…Adding Even More… The Sun-Times points out that Ditka can’t vote for Rauner because he’s been registered to vote in Florida since 2000. But

Rauner campaign spokesman Mike Schrimpf told Early & Often that Ditka’s voting credentials shouldn’t be issue now since they weren’t four years ago – when Ditka endorsed Quinn over Republican Bill Brady and appeared in an ad for the Democratic governor.

“Pat Quinn certainly thought he was qualified in 2010,” Schrimpf said. […]

Quinn’s campaign publicly sidestepped slamming the revered former Bears coach for not being registered to vote in Illinois and endorsing Rauner.

“Only a billionaire with a $140,000 wine club membership could afford to run such expensive ads during the Bears game,” Quinn campaign spokeswoman Izabela Miltko said in a prepared statement.

“Not to mention, if Mr. Rauner is such a Bears fan, why’s he a part owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers?” she said.

The 2010 Ditka endorsement of Quinn is here.

- Posted by Rich Miller   92 Comments      


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