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Saturday, December 8, 2012
Aggies spend big on Johnny Manziel

By Darren Rovell
ESPN.com

Manziel ad
Texas A&M will roll out this Johnny Manziel ad on a Times Square billboard, as well as on full-page ads in the New York Times and USA Today.

Schools used to spend money on trying to win their player the Heisman Trophy.

Now they spend money once their player has won it.

On the heels of its redshirt freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel winning the Heisman on Saturday night, Texas A&M isn't wasting any time marketing itself.

So Johnny Football will become Johnny Broadway in the next 24 hours, as the school will toast the latest Heisman winner with a billboard in the heart of Times Square in New York City.

Without context, it's an extravagant spend for the school located in College Station, Texas. But there are big plans and hopes for a decent return on investment.

"With our move to the SEC, we are building a national brand for Texas A&M, and Johnny winning the Heisman certainly accelerates our efforts," said Jason Cook, vice president of marketing and communications for the school.

The ad reads: "They call him Johnny Heisman. The 12th Man stands a little taller today as we congratulate Aggie quarterback Johnny Manziel, winner of the 2012 Heisman Trophy."

Texas A&M has bought full-page ads to run in Monday's editions of the New York Times and USA Today. The Johnny Heisman spend also includes ads online, nationally with ESPN.com and SI.com and regionally with the Dallas Morning News, Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News.

The Aggies also are taking out newspaper advertising in the Austin American-Statesman, perhaps to take a jab at their rivals at the University of Texas, which is located in Austin.

Cook would not disclose the ad budget, but said it was a collaboration between the Aggies athletic department and the university at large.

The campaign was launched in earnest with Manziel's acceptance speech.

"Choosing Texas A&M was one of the best decisions I made in my entire life," Manziel said from the podium Saturday night.

An official with Baylor told ESPN.com this week that Robert Griffin III's Heisman win was worth $250 million to the school, including $14 million in media mentions in the month after the ceremony.

Per NCAA rules, Texas A&M cannot use Manziel's name, image or Johnny Football nickname to make a dime, but adidas has made shirts with the Texas A&M logo and colors with Heisman imagery to be sold at retail.

Manziel's family is in the process of trademarking the term "Johnny Football" to preserve the rights to use that nickname on products once his collegiate eligibility has expired.