Orange County Business Journal

Vizio Signs Blake Griffin as New Pitchman

Chris Casacchia Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Irvine’s Vizio Inc. has signed Los Angeles Clippers star Blake Griffin to pitch its low-cost digital TVs and other products.

Griffin, expected to be named the National Basketball Association’s Rookie of the Year this week, is one of the most exciting players in professional sports and captured a growing fan base with his powerful dunks and nightly highlights.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, according to the Sports Business Journal.

Vizio did not immediately respond for comment.

Griffin is represented by New York-based Sports Excel Management, which has an office in Beverly Hills.

This latest move by Vizio plays into its marketing strategy of tapping high profile athletes and entertainers to tout its products. It spends millions a year on branding and last year signed a three-year deal to be the presenting sponsor of the Rose Bowl from 2011 to 2014. The last year of the package includes the BCS National Championship Game, when millions tune in across the globe.

Vizio has a long history with Walt Disney Co.'s ESPN, sponsoring the network’s flagship program “SportsCenter” as well as other college football broadcasts.

For years, Vizio employed former San Diego Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson as the company’s top pitchman.

Singer and actress Beyonce Knowles-Carter has been featured in a Super Bowl commercial. She signed a three-year deal to endorse the company’s products.

Vizio also has advertised during NBA games and in popular sports video games developed by Redwood City-based Electronic Arts Inc., maker of the "Madden NFL" and "Tiger Woods" games.

A lot of Vizio’s growth has come in the past three years as it steadily picked up market share and became the top seller of LCD sets in the U.S.

The company sold 6.9 million TVs in 2010 for a total North America market share of 18%, according to DisplaySearch.