SBD/6/Sponsorships Advertising Marketing

ON THE HEELS OF THE SHOE INDUSTRY: NIKE, REEBOK & L.A. GEAR

     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).
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