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ON THE HEELS OF THE SHOE INDUSTRY: NIKE, REEBOK & L.A. GEAR
Published March 6, 1995
Yesterday, Nike debuted a national TV ad featuring Magic guard Anfernee Hardaway. In October Nike will launch the "Air Max Penny" shoe, retail price: $135. The company will also roll out Hardaway T-shirts and caps bearing a Penny logo approved by Hardaway and his agents. AD AGE's Jeff Jensen on Nike's marketing campaign for Hardaway: "This marks a declaration by Nike as to who will be their basketball standard bearers for the future, and Anfernee Hardaway will be one. Chris Webber will be the other." Kevin Poston, one of Hardaway's agents points out that Nike is looking for a new generation of players and "Penny's their man" (Rene Stutzman, ORLANDO SENTINEL, 3/4). L.A. GEAR: At least two lawsuits have been filed in DE by shareholders seeking to block the planned acquisition of Ryka Inc., the MA-based maker of women's athletic shoes, by L.A. Gear. According to one lawsuit, the sale of Ryka benefits the company's president Sheri Poe at the expense of shareholders. In return for a 5-year compensation package valued at more than $1.3M, Poe sold Ryka to L.A. Gear at too low a price, the suit claims. Poe, in a statement: "The company intends to move forward with the merger, which the board of directors believes is in the best interests of the company and its shareholders. We believe that the suits opposing the merger are without merit and intend to vigorously defend these actions." The second lawsuit claims that Poe "made no effort whatsoever to maximize shareholder value" (Chris Reidy, BOSTON GLOBE, 3/4). REEBOK: Reebok Int'l breaks a yearlong TV and print campaign this week to support its women's sports and fitness business, continuing the "There is an athlete in all of us" tagline introduced last year. Created by Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, the campaign includes three TV ads. Nancy Kerrigan is not featured, but a Reebok spokesperson said she remains a Reebok endorser (ADVERTISING AGE, 3/6 issue). OLD IS NEW: In the "ever-fickle athletic-shoe market, has- been sneakers are the trend," writes Geoffrey Smith in the current issue of BUSINESS WEEK. Converse, Adidas and Puma all had shoes designed in the '60s and '70s that sold well in '94. But footwear marketers say the "retro look, like all fads, is destined to fade." However, sales of traditional sneakers, which sagged in '93, rebounded by 4% last year, "bolstered mainly by classic, no-frills styles." While 4% is "hardly a blowout, the growth came as a big surprise." Not surprisingly, "Generation Xers are driving the retro trend." Converse ran all of its ads for its throwback looks in magazines like THRASHER, DIRT and other trendy youth periodicals (BUSINESS WEEK, 3/13 issue). AVIA: Key new products for Avia in '95 include the Scorpion crosstrainer shoe for men and the Step Channel aerobics shoe for women. The company will also expand its apparel line with the women's crosstraining line and a fleece and jersey active wear line. The company's print ad campaign will be featured in People, SI, Men's Journal, Glamour, Shape, Men's Fitness and Runner's World (Avia).