Great moments in sports product placement

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff  May 24, 2011 09:30 AM

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Is there anything in sports, besides maybe the Red Sox' throwbacks on Saturday night, that doesn't have a logo, sponsor or brand name on it?

Of course not. We have Gillette Stadium, the Chick-fil-A Bowl, and the Deutsche Bank Championship. And then there's NASCAR drivers.

Nothing wrong with any of it. Advertising and sponsorship fuels sports on every level.

But nothing beats a product actually performing at the highest level in an extremely visible way, or being part of a defining moment of an event. So the boys at Reebok must be giddy over Bruins goalie Tim Thomas's incredible save in the third period of last night's game vs. the Lightning. It was No. 1 on ESPN's Top 10 plays today, and features a slo-mo close-up of Thomas lunging to knock the puck out of the goal with the Reebok name on his stick very prominently displayed.

The closest comparison may have been at the 2005 Masters, when Tiger Woods chipped in on the 16th hole in the final round en route to a victory. His Nike ball rolled ever-so-slowly toward the cup, then magically paused on the lip of the hole as the camera zoomed in tight, the Nike logo as striking as Desmond Howard's famous Heisman pose.

Watch Thomas's save above, and Tiger's shot below. If you know of others -- remember, they have to be huge moments in sports, not just any old catch -- please add them to the comments.

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