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SPONSORS GIVING IDITAROD THE COLD SHOULDER
Published September 27, 1994
According to Jo McIntyre in this week's ADVERTISING AGE, corporate sponsors of the Iditarod -- such as Iams and Timberland -- are "nervous about controversy" stemming from complaints by animal-rights activists and "are backing away." Byran Brown, Communications Dir for Iams, which contributed $175,000 in money and dog food this year: "Rather than continue to ask for major changes in the current format of the Iditarod sled dog race, it is in the best interest of all concerned that Iams Co. withdraw from active sponsorship of the race." Timberland, which has a $1M involvement in this year's race, is "weighing whether to sponsor next year's race." Jay Steere, Timberland Senior Manager of Events and Promotions: "We are disappointed (about the dispute between activists and the race committee) because we think the nucleus of the Iditarod, the idea of man and woman going on an equal basis against the elements, is a powerful story and one we feel helps us position our brand in a positive way." Stan Hooley, Exec Dir of the Iditarod Committee: "Timberland understands the value of sponsorship of this event for them. The dilemma is how difficult are these special interests groups going to make it for us" (Jo McIntyre, AD AGE, 9/26 issue). ATTENTION MILLER BREWING -- FISH HAVE RIGHTS, TOO: Ray Scott, founder of the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society, wants Miller Brewing to stop airing its "Bass Ball" commercials, which feature players "hurling what appears to be a largemouth bass from base to base." Scott: "For 25 years, we've been trying to get people to respect this fish, and here we have people slapping a bass across a man's face, throwing it around the bases. Wonder if they'd be willing to film a commercial with somebody throwing a kitten or a poodle puppy? ... I want Miller to get off our bass" (Gene Mueller, WASHINGTON TIMES, 9/26).