NBA TV, FS Indiana Set Records United Airlines Renews As Arena Sponsor WTA Brussels Open Folds After Three Years NCAA Awards Championship Events Commissioners Discuss NCAA Reform NCAA's Emmert Talks O'Bannon Lawsuit Van Gundy Will Not Broadcast Knicks Game E-Trade Will Not Run Super Bowl Ad IAF: Emmert Says New Structure Possible Kings Lead NBA Teams In Attendance Gains
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In this morning's WALL STREET JOURNAL, Kevin Goldman profiles Indigo Entertainment, a new childrens' television unit of Grey Advertising that is currently co-producing "Grunt & Punt" with NFL Films. Scheduled to first air on October 29, "Grunt & Punt" is a 30-minute combination of animation and live action intended "to lure young viewers, nine-to-14 years old, to the sport and to cultivate a new generation of pigskin fans." Four episodes have been planned and will air on the Fox Children's Network -- "a block of shows on Saturdays." Program elements include: the animated adventures of Grunt and Punt, "a wide- eyed, loud-in-your-face pig and a subdued, sleepy-eyed boar, respectively"; profiles and features of NFL players such as Boomer Esaison and Troy Aikman; football bloopers; and "Locker Rumors" -- a segment in which "animated talking towels, helmets, and even a deodorant can gossip to one another about players who've just left the locker room." Earlier this year, Indigo sold a teen-oriented show about the Super Bowl to NBC (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 10/5). BACK TO THE FUTURE ON MADISON AVENUE: Indigo Entertainment, launched earlier this year, is an "unusual" step for an ad agency -- especially since the practice of Madison avenue shops producing television shows waxed and waned in the 1940s and 1950s. Rob Sorcher, President of Indigo: "We're going to be out there pitching television networks with series the same way studios are." The six-person shop has five other shows in development, and may develop CD-ROM programs and video games (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 10/5).
Activewear maker Speedo Authentic Fitness is opening a store on 57th Street in New York City. Speedo, with one other store in Manhattan so far, is taking 6,000 square feet on four levels (CRAIN'S NEW YORK BUSINESS, 10/3-9)....Reebok has moved its ad account for its golf and Greg Norman product lines to Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos of Boston. The accounts (estimated at $5M) were previously with Mullen Advertising (N.Y. TIMES, 10/5)....Cal University will sell off pieces of their astroturf, lifted in '90, as pieces of turf used during the five- lateral inspiration called "The Play." Proceeds go toward installing real grass at Memorial Stadium for next season. Cal hopes to raise $250-300,000 of the $1.6M cost of the project (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 10/5). ...Molson Breweries, set to unveil an investment in China today, will probably join forces with Australian beer giant Foster's Brewing to "penetrate the surging Chinese beer market." Foster's, which owns 40% of Molson, formed an alliance in June to set up breweries with Wheelock & Co. of Hong Kong (TORONTO STAR, 10/5).
Anheuser-Busch announced yesterday that they have signed a deal to become the sponsor of NASCAR driver Ken Shrader. Winston Cup team owner Rick Hendrick, who fields Chevrolets for Shrader, said the Budweiser sponsorship will begin next year and will continue through 1998. Anheuser-Busch VP Tony Ponturo said the company "envisions being with the team well beyond the year 2000." Shrader called it a "dream come true" (Tom Higgins, CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 10/5).