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JAPANESE AUTOMAKERS FIGHT IT OUT WITH BASEBALL ENDORSERS
Published December 7, 1995
The "rivalry" between Japan's automakers "spilled" over to pro baseball, according to Neil Weinberg of FORBES. Nissan began by "hitting a marketing home run" by signing Ichiro Suzuki, a superstar fielder for Kobe's Orix Blue Wave, as an endorser. Sales increased 14% after it launched his campaign "which emphasized newly available air bags." Toyota came back in September by signing Dodgers' Rookie of the Year pitcher Hideo Nomo, who "now pitches Toyota cars with air bags and antilock brakes." Those ads started "a modest rally" in October (FORBES, 12/18 issue).