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NIKE COUNTERS VIEW THAT IT MOVING AWAY FROM CELEBRITIES
Published February 21, 1995
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).