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ARMATO GETS A LAUGH FROM RUMORS OF REEBOK DROPPING SHAQ
Published December 18, 1997
Management Plus' Leonard Armato, agent for Shaquille O'Neal, described a published report that Reebok might be dropping O'Neal as, "funny, considering he's one of the most well-known icons in the world," according to Greg Johnson of the L.A. TIMES. Reebok Dir of PR Dave Fogelson "maintained that O'Neal is a 'very important' element" in Reebok's future advertising and marketing." CA-based Taco Bell "stopped using" O'Neal in its spots earlier this year, and he "won't appear" in Reebok TV ads slated to run early in '98. Johnson: "O'Neal's temporary absence from the two high-profile TV campaigns underscores how companies ... that foot the bill for lucrative endorsement contracts are trying to make more effective -- and, they hope, cost-effective -- use of highly paid pitchmen and women." Reebok's Fogelson "tied O'Neal's on-air absence for the first half of 1998 to the fact that Reebok products will be pitched on TV by other basketball stars, including Allen Iverson and Shawn Kemp -- along with WNBA and ABL stars," but Fogelson said that O'Neal will appear in print ads (L.A. TIMES, 12/18).