SBD/21/Sponsorships Advertising Marketing

NIKE COUNTERS VIEW THAT IT MOVING AWAY FROM CELEBRITIES

     Nike Inc. has ended its relationships with both Bo Jackson
and Dennis Hopper amid reports the company is moving away from
celebrity-based advertising and returning to an emphasis on
sports and fitness.  Nike VP/Commun. Keith Peters: "Nike is
currently refreshing its 'Just Do It' message with a series of
ads that feature celebrity athletes and everyday people."  But
Peters said that does not mean the company is abandoning
celebrities altogether.  The company will soon release a series
of Spike Lee-produced spots featuring Michael Jordan's minor
league baseball exploits (AP/SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 2/21).  Nike
Dir of Advertising Joe McCarthy:  "We tried to be entertaining
and controversial and lost sight of what Nike is" (USA TODAY,
2/20).  In Today's OREGONIAN, Peters "took issue" with reports
that Nike is abandoning celebrtity ads altogther:  "We work with
a lot of athletes.  To say that we're conciously choosing to work
with fewer is a bit misleading" (Portland OREGONIAN, 2/21).  Last
night's "Entertainment Tonight" reported the news of Jackson and
Hopper being dropped.  ET's Mary Hart reports that Jackson earned
nearly $3M in his 8-year run with Nike, while Hopper made $1M.
USA TODAY advertising reporter Melanie Wells:  "One question in
using celebrities is, does it really help the products, or does
it promote the celebrities?"  Hart reports some industry insiders
speculate Nike is changing its lineup to appear different than
rival Reebok, which has Shaquille O'Neal as its primary endorser
("ET," 2/20).
     NIKE INTEGRATES AD STRATEGIES:  Nike said it is reviewing
its U.S. media planning and buying functions, and may consolidate
the two this spring.  Currently Wieden & Kennedy handles planning
and SFM Media handles buying.  Last week, McCarthy addressed
Wieden staffers to confirm Nike's support for the agency
(ADVERTISING AGE, 2/20 issue).  Meanwhile, W&K and McCann
Erickson released details of their worldwide alliance to develop
a "broader global marriage" for the Nike account (BRANDWEEK, 2/20
issue).
     FITNESS FIRST, OR BRAND AWARENESS?  Reebok will open Reebok
Sports Club/NY on April 1.  It is a $55M fitness complex that may
"raise the bar on retail-level brand interactivity in the
sporting goods business," according to Eric Hollreiser in
BRANDWEEK.  Reebok will not say if it is launching a chain of
fitness clubs, "but the fitness club-cum product testing ground
fits its strategy" (BRANDWEEK, 2/20 issue).  BUSINESS WEEK
profiles the rise of manufacturers opening their own flagship
retail stores.  Mary Kuntz explains the rise of the specialty
stores, such as Niketown: "The consolidation of department store
chains has left manufacturers with fewer stores to sell to.  And
profit-starved retailers have been pushing their own competing
private-label brands" (BUSINESS WEEK, 2/27 issue).
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Related Topics:

Nike, NikeTown, Reebok, Wieden Kennedy

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