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JORDAN'S MARKETABILITY DOMINATES THE WEEKEND
Published March 13, 1995
Michael Jordan's decision to quit baseball is "driving advertisers to juggle their plans." Nike announced it is shelving its Jordan baseball spott that debuted only a week ago. The Spike Lee-produced ads included cameos by Stan Musial, Willie Mays and Bill Buckner. Nike spokesperson Tom Feuer said the baseball ad is getting "plenty of exposure anyway in news accounts": "It hasn't been a waste of money." Gatorade "accelerated the debut" of its new ad featuring Jordan on a "mythical but suddenly apt search for the meaning of life." The Gatorade ad, filmed just three weeks ago, is scheduled to start airing on NBC's Sunday NBA broadcasts. Kathryn Newton, spokesperson for General Mills/Wheaties, said Jordan's switch back to basketball would not affect their plans (AP/ N.Y. POST, 3/11). From the new Gatorade ad: Jordan is running through a desert and into the mountains to a temple where he meets a guru who recognizes that he has come to discover the meaning of life. Guru: "Life is a sport, drink it up." Jordan: "Yeah, that's what I figured" (Baltimore SUN, 3/11). McDonald's is teaming up with the NBA and Looney Tunes characters in a major April promotion. One TV ad will show Bugs Bunny playing basketball revealing at the end that he's really Michael Jordan in disguise. The ads also include Charles Barkley and Larry Bird (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 3/13). NIKE'S STOCK JUMPS: Nike stock closed at $76.50, up $1.50 for the day and continuing a "steady climb that has seen it rise" about 10% over the last month. It was one of the most heavily traded stocks on Friday, about 50% more than normal. Kemper Securities analyst Kevin Dukesherer: "A comeback by [Jordan] certainly raises the stock out a little bit, and maybe gives a little bit of a boost to their Air Jordan line" (Jon Morgan, Baltimore SUN, 3/11). DOES HE SELL? In Chicago, Tim Jones notes that in the four years since Gatorade signed Jordan, the company has expanded its coverage from about a dozen countries to 28. Gatorade VP/Worldwide Marketing Bill Schmidt: "A great percentage of this is due to Michael. In a lot of these countries they don't know what a sports beverage is and they haven't heard of Gatorade, but they've heard of Michael." Nike VP/Communications Keith Peters: "The one thing we have learned in the last year and a half is that Jordan certainly transcends basketball and baseball and maybe anything we know as sport" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 3/12). ABC's Armen Keteyian reported Friday that an NBA official had reported that advertisers "are already calling in looking to cash in on [Jordan's] return" (ABC, 3/10). NEWSDAY's Mike Lupica said Jordan's return would be "a very smart business decision because Michael Jordan had to take a look at what happened to Bo Jackson when Nike decided that they had gone as far as they could with a guy who could become a marginal baseball player" ("Sports Reporters," ESPN, 3/12).