SBD/20/Franchises

SONICS AIM TO SHOW THE SOFTER SIDE OF ITS PAYTON PLACE

          The Sonics' marketing strategy this year aims to
     "familiarize fans with the players' human side," according
     to Mike Roarke of the PUGET SOUND BUSINESS JOURNAL.  To help
     form a "long-term relationship between the team and its
     supporters," the team hired Seattle-based ad agency
     WongDoody to produce a series of ads "focusing on the
     personalities" of the team members.  The ads are "not
     scripted," and feature six Sonics, including coach George
     Karl and Gary Payton, "interacting spontaneously" with
     people in "unrehearsed settings."  In one spot, Payton is
     shown spending time with senior citizens; in another, Sam
     Perkins "playfully blocks" a child's shot on a mini-hoop,
     before sending him to bed.  WongDoody's Tracy Wong feels
     that this type of campaign "could be what the NBA needs." 
     Wong: "I think the NBA's problem now is the salaries are so
     astronomically high, a distance has been created between the
     players and the fans" (PUGET SOUND BUSINESS JOURNAL, 11/17).

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