SBD/7/Sponsorships Advertising Marketing

JAPANESE AUTOMAKERS FIGHT IT OUT WITH BASEBALL ENDORSERS

     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).
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