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NIKE, DOING ITS A-B-C'S, IS HOPING ITS ALPHA-BET WILL WORK
Published March 3, 1998
The manufacturing of new sneaker models at Nike is examined by Bill Richards of the WALL STREET JOURNAL under the header, "Tripped Up By Too Many Shoes, Nike Regroups." After "years of convincing buyers they need such sneaker innovations as air bags and see-through heels," Nike's head of sneaker research, Mario Lafortune, "concedes it is getting harder to come up with innovations that people can easily see." Richards writes that Nike now "has a new game plan. Instead of endless innovations, it is revving up its marketing machine to new heights." Under its "Alpha," program, Nike will market its most expensive apparel, sporting goods and sneaker products as one unit, "under the same 'halo.'" One ad may feature a model wearing a Nike watch, Nike sunglasses, a Nike Jacket and Nike sneakers. Nike will also use certain "Alpha Athletes" -- Tiger Woods, for example -- wearing Nike "from head to toe." The "Alpha approach" will begin at the end of the year. The "onset of the Alpha program coincides with a backlash against an endless stream of new Nike models with little to distinguish them from one another" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 3/3). LOSING ITS GRIP? In Dallas, Richard Alm writes under the header, "Nike Feels Pinch In Its Pocketbook." Alm: "All the sudden, Nike no longer looks like an unstoppable cash machine. ... Nike remains formidable and profitable, so it's not going away. Without a doubt, the company will continue to be a potent force in sports marketing. Any retreat, though, will send ripples through sports -- just because Nike is so big" (Richard Alm, DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 3/3).