SBD/3/Sponsorships Advertising Marketing

NIKE, DOING ITS A-B-C'S, IS HOPING ITS ALPHA-BET WILL WORK

          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).

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