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IBM "has revamped its sports marketing strategy, winnowing sponsorships to just three": the PGA Tour, the NBA and the Olympics, according to AD AGE. IBM Corp. Sports Marketing Manager Tom Burke: "Our thinking was let's focus on a few premier events and maximize the return on those investments instead of spreading ourselves thin just for the sake of being everywhere." IBM is dropping sponsorship of the Fiesta Bowl and title sponsorship of the ATP Tour upon expiration in 1996. IBM will stay involved in tennis' Grand Slam events, and will also buy ad time on those broadcasts this year (Jeff Jensen, AD AGE, 2/6 issue).
Athletic and outdoor show retailer Just For Feet is profiled in this morning's USA TODAY. The company posted 4th Q revenue of $18M, up 164% from a year ago. With stores averaging 15,000- 20,000 square feet, the chain can stock 4,000 types of shoes. Just For Feet has grown from seven to 20 stores, mostly in the Sun Belt, but there are plans to open 10 stores every year over the next several years (Donna Rosato, USA TODAY, 2/7)....Quaker Oats' sale of its U.S. and Canadian pet food units to H.J. Heinz for $725M was cited by Quaker CEO William Smithburg as a "logical and important step in the evolving realignment" of Quaker's portfolio. Quaker will focus its efforts on grain-based products and "good-for-you" beverages, including Snapple and Gatorade (George Gunset, CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 2/7)....Today's WASHINGTON POST reports on complaints about Coors' Zima malt beverage from parents, schools and local police concerning abuse of the beverage by teens (Jay Mathews, WASHINGTON POST, 2/7)....Burger King ended its relationship with Saatchi & Saatchi on the company's campaign aimed at children. Burger King will now consolidate its entire U.S. account at Ammirati & Puris/Lintas (N.Y. TIMES, 2/7)....Domino's is ready to debut its new "modular" stores as a key part of the company's push for more carry-out business (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 2/7)....Boston Chicken plans to open at least 325 outlets this year (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 2/7)....Indianapolis-based Grand Slam III was awarded an NBA license to produce lapel pins with the likenesses of NBA stars (Grand Slam III).... Apparel-maker No Fear is examined in the latest AD AGE. According to SPORTING GOODS BUSINESS Editor Andrew Gaffney, "The attitude category, though tiny, is the hottest area of the sporting goods apparel market. No Fear's challenge is to take the plunge into the mainstream while preserving its cutting edge personality" (AD AGE, 2/6 issue)....Met-Rx, a small CA-based company which makes nutritional products, signed Troy Aikman as a spokesperson. A $1.1M, 3-week spot TV and radio campaign with Aikman begins February 27 for the line of powdered drinks and bars (BRANDWEEK, 2/6 issue).
The relationship between Nike and its ad agency, Wieden & Kennedy, "is becoming less important as Nike is forced to focus its attention beyond the U.S.," according to the latest issue of ADVERTISING AGE. One "Nike insider" said that the agency, with offices in only Portland, OR, and Amsterdam, "may lose some U.S. creative work this year." Wieden & Kennedy was involved in Nike's upcoming $60M revived "Just do it" campaign, which will include a Spike Lee-directed spot featuring Michael Jordan and Lee's Mars Blackmon character. Last week at the SuperShow in Atlanta, Nike VP/Marketing Liz Dolan said the "refocus" on "Just do it" is not a repudiation of Wieden & Kennedy's recent efforts, but an attempt to "shift back to image from product-focused advertising." But Dolan added: "There was a time just three years ago when we and Wieden had the space to be more off the wall. ... But different times call for a different strategy." While the agency is still viewed by many as Nike's "house shop," Wieden recently began an image campaign for Microsoft. AD AGE's Jeff Jensen reports, "There's talk that comments within Wieden about Microsoft being the 'where the future of the agency lies' got back to Nike" (ADVERTISING AGE, 2/6 issue). NIKE'S EIGHT "BIG IDEAS": Nike plans to focus its efforts this year on its eight "Big Ideas": Air technology, team sports, sport training, its new Ndestrukt shoes, street hockey, all- conditions gear, soccer and Nike F.I.T. apparel. Liz Dolan said the company's goal is to "dominate the field of play" (Heather Pauley, BLOOMBERG/WASHINGTON TIMES, 2/7). SWOOSH BALL: Nike announced that it signed an exclusive licensing deal with sporting goods maker VSI, formerly Voit, to place the Nike label on soccer balls, footballs, basketballs and volleyballs. A Nike soccer ball is expected this spring. While the sale of Nike balls will be restricted to authorized dealers of Nike footwear, the company also hopes to sell to schools. It is Nike's third licensing deal since last week when they announced deals with Jantzen on swimwear and H.H. Cutler on children's clothing (Jeff Manning, Portland OREGONIAN, 2/3).
Attendance at the annual Super Show in Atlanta "climbed considerably, especially among foreign participants." Some 113,985 attended the four-day trade show, an increase of 7.1%. Foreign attendees were estimated at nearly 22,000, a 32.7% jump from last year. Buyers made up 78,000 of the participants, up 9.4%. The number of companies exhibiting was nearly 3,000, up 6.9%. Also, 966 members of the media covered the event (Al Levine, ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 2/7). FOOTWEAR BATTLES DOMINATE COVERAGE: BLOOMBERG BUSINESS NEWS' Heather Pauley examines the approaches announced by the major footwear companies at the Super Show, with Nike and Reebok "attacking" the team sports market. While Reebok will not challenge Nike in street hockey, L.A. Gear will enter the category with a Wayne Gretzky-sponsored line of shoes and apparel (WASHINGTON TIMES, 2/7). Reebok spokesperson Dan Shanrahan: "We've talked a lot about street hockey because of Nike. But I have a hard time seeing kids taking off their skates just to move slower" (Michael Hiestand, USA TODAY, 2/7). OTHER SUPER SHOW NOTES: The N.Y. TIMES' Richard Sandomir offers vignettes from this year's show, including Isiah Thomas' take on the Raptors' new logo: "This is what the kids want." Thomas had no comment when asked if he would have worn the uniforms (N.Y. TIMES, 2/7). ....Columbia Sportswear plans to double its TV advertising to $4M and continue its $3M print campaign. The company will also debut "concept shop" store displays. Avia is embarking on a $7-10M print campaign "to define its image as a shoemaker for Everyman" (Portland OREGONIAN, 2/3).