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Coca-Cola has announced the return of its "Monsters of the Gridiron" promotion to transform 28 of the NFL'S biggest players into "halloween phantoms." The six-week promotion which begins on Sept. 19 and runs through Oct. 31, features players from every team, as well as mascots from Carolina and Jacksonville, and offers a complete set of limited-edition collector cards produced by Score Boards Classic Games. Two random cards will be available inside specially marked multi-packs of Coca Cola beverages, along with a scratch-off game piece that could win one of 100 grand prize trips to Super Bowl XXIX (THE DAILY, 9/14). LONE STAR SHERIFF: Emmitt Smith will serve as national "spokesMonster" and star in a national advertising campaign that will be supported by localized radio and in-store promotions. Charles Frenette, Exec. VP, Coca-Cola USA Operations: "Monsters of the Gridiron captures the fantasy of the Halloween season and the lighthearted personalities of some of the NFL's biggest stars. It is a fun, imaginative way to bring our long-standing NFL relationship to our customers" (THE DAILY, 9/14).
Entry Media President Martin Hering has told THE SPORTS BUSINESS DAILY that a contract with Network International to market "Turnstile AdSleeves" to over 45 facilities throughout the U.S. and abroad will be signed this morning....Drew Pearson Companies, the world's largest African American-owned licensed sports and character headwear manufacturer, has retained Advantage Marketing Group of Irving, TX to handle marketing and public relations as part of an effort to increase global promotional efforts.... Press Pass, a leading race card manufacturer, has announced plans to release "Sportskings" -- trading cards that offer collectors a cross-sports set featuring athletes from a variety of sports (THE DAILY, 9/14). FROM THIS MORNING'S WALL STREET JOURNAL: John Labbatt Ltd. shareholders narrowly rejected the company's poison pill plan "in a move that reflects holders' discontent with management's recent penchant for acquisitions....With Bud Dry sales "scrapping rock bottom," Anheuser-Busch "has decided upon a wet approach" to advertising with a new spot featuring a bathroom-frustrated GenX'er. The spot was created by Dennis Ryan and DDB Needham's Chicago office and produced for less than $350K. It first aired on Fox earlier this month and will air tonight on CBS's "Late Show with David Letterman" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 9/14).
"Is the Michael Kranefuss/Carl Haas venture into NASCAR skidding into oblivion," asks Raad Cawthon in this morning's ATLANTA CONSTITUTION. Kmart was expected to sponsor the team's car next season but, in the wake of announcing 100 store closings nationwide, the company "has now said it will not be an auto- racing sponsor next season." Cawthon also reports that Bill Davis is losing Terry Labonte "because he cannot find a sponsor for this Pontiac next season" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 9/14).
Like the NFL's Carolina Panthers, the Toronto Raptors will institute a plan to charge season ticket holders a one-time licensing fee, according to Craig Daniels in this morning's TORONTO SUN. "Ticket buyers would pay an up-front fee in addition to the cost of the ticket itself, giving the fan what amounts to ownership of the seat. The seat could then be bought and sold for whatever price the market would command." Raptors VP for Communications Tom Mayenknecht said "exact figures will be worked out later this week" and that "the plan will keep the cost of single-game tickets down, will discourage scalping by big-time operators, and will ensure the stadium is financed without taxpayer help" (Craig Daniels, TORONTO SUN, 9/14). GRIZZLIES GROWL AT CONCEPT: "The Grizzlies, who have commitments for 6,600 season tickets and are expecting 1,244 commitments from the 88 luxury suite holders, have ruled out having seat licenses," according to this morning's VANCOUVER SUN. Grizzlies Marketing Dir John Rocha said the club did "some research on seat licenses and decided against it": "We have club seats that are bought for a three-year term, but that money is applied to the ticket and to access to club amenities" (Ken Bradshaw, VANCOUVER SUN, 9/14). FANS BEAR HUG GRIZZLIES GEAR: Bradshaw also reports that "Grizzly goods are flying out the door of retailers at a huge rate." Larry Donen, Managing Dir of Winning Spirit stores: "We think that means we have a more universally accepted logo" (VANCOUVER SUN, 9/14).