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In Boston, Mike Barnicle on the Boston Lager billboard at a little league park in Newton, MA: "It's a bad sign when adults figure their own kids are such weak little simpletons that they might commit an error based on a billboard when any sane liberal knows: Ads don't drink. People do" (BOSTON GLOBE, 5/10)....Also in Boston, Ron Borges reported that calls to Logo Athletic for Peyton Manning's No. 18 Colts jersey "have been unprecedented." Logo, which cannot sell the jerseys until Manning signs with the Colts, has printed more than 3,000 (BOSTON GLOBE, 5/10).....Following his MLB record-tying 20 strikeout performance, Kerry Wood's agent Randy Hendricks is "cautious" about Woods' endorsement potential: "It's not likely people are going to see one game and say, 'Get this guy on Taco Bell tomorrow.' ... [I]n the case of a baseball player, you don't have to have that quick an uptake" (AP/Mult., 5/10)....BUSINESS WEEK profiles the golf club market, noting that in '96, domestic sales of the top 25 golf clubmakers totaled $1.6B, up from $1.3B in '95 (BUSINESS WEEK, 5/18 issue)....ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY's Tricia Lane reports on auto racing in Hollywood, and notes that "no fewer than 10 auto-racing movies" are in production and that "celeb interest in motor sports is also hitting the red line" (Tricia Lane, ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY, 5/15 issue).
Michael Jordan finished No. 1 in the annual survey by IL-based Burns Sports, which asks business and ad execs to choose the sports celebrity they'd like most to pitch their products. Jordan received 79 first place votes, compared with 24 for Tiger Woods who won the same poll last year. Burns Sports said it received 250 responses. Arnold Palmer finished third in the voting, followed by Jeff Gordon, Grant Hill, Ken Griffey Jr., George Foreman, Cal Ripken Jr., Steve Young and Wayne Gretzky (BLOOMBERG NEWS/N.Y. POST, 5/9).
Currently the "underdog" in the soccer market, Nike is setting 2002 as the year it expects "to catapult" to No. 1 in the industry ahead of adidas and Umbro, according to Sharon King of the N.Y. TIMES, who adds that "all this while cutting" $100M, "an amount equal to about one-third of its advertising budget in the 1999 fiscal year, which begins June 1." In its effort to "regain firmer footing" after reporting recent quarter losses, Nike Dir of U.S. Advertising Chris Zimmerman said soccer, performance apparel and women's sports are areas where Nike will focus its '99 marketing push. Nike will also focus on the World Cup -- beginning this June in France -- back-to-school promos and product innovations, including a new women's Air Jordan shoe. Wieden & Kennedy will spearhead the Nike soccer push behind an estimated $30-40M ad budget (N.Y. TIMES, 5/11). OTHER NIKE NOTES: Chargers QB Ryan Leaf has signed a multiyear endorsement deal with Nike. Terms were not disclosed (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 5/9)....In N.Y., Neal Travis reported that "one stipulation" when Nike leased space for its flagship store in Trump Tower was that Donald Trump "had to agree" to do a Nike TV commercial. He is now featured in an Nike/NBA spot with "The Fun Police," which includes Tim Hardaway and Kevin Garnett, among others. Travis reported that Trump received a "substantial" fee for the spot which he donated to charity (N.Y. POST, 5/10).
On Tuesday, Oakley will introduce a new, domestically- produced sneaker that "seems destined to be viewed either as masterstroke or fiasco," according to Starr & Kaufman of NEWSWEEK. While Oakley's new sneaker "is about trying to seize a marketing opportunity," it's also about "a clash of giant egos, a corporate grudge match pitting" Oakley against Nike and Oakley Founder & Chair Jim Jannard against his former friend, Nike Founder & Chair Phil Knight. Jannard noted that his company's decision to enter the shoe market came after Nike's decision to manufacturer its own line of eyewear: "I marvel that they would risk our relationship to go after part of a $200 million business against the possibility of us going after a share of a $5 billion business. It showed a great amount of disrespect. They obviously didn't take us seriously" (NEWSWEEK, 5/18 issue). SHOES YOU CAN USE? Jannard says Oakley has designed a "technically better shoe, more consistent in sizing with improved support and protection." But Starr & Kaufman write that "few in the industry are as impressed with [Oakley] as it is with itself," and add that "many think Oakley's shoe is a misguided, perhaps even suicidal, potion driven by little beyond Jannard's ego." Marketing the shoe "will be tricky," since many of Oakley's "big-name" eyewear endorsers already have footwear deals. In addition, Oakley plans no major ad campaigns around the new product and so far "has mustered a rather limited distribution network" of only about 200 stores nationwide (NEWSWEEK, 5/18 issue).