SBD/8/Sponsorships Advertising Marketing

NIKE V. ADIDAS COULD BE THE MOST HEATED OF WORLD CUP BATTLES

          The "big battle" at the World Cup will "be between"
     Nike and adidas, according to William Echikson of BUSINESS
     WEEK, both of whom "have spent millions of dollars on
     temporary 'soccer parks'" in Paris to showcase their
     products.  Nike's display, which will feature French soccer
     star Eric Cantona and the Brazilian team, is at the La
     Defense office complex, while adidas is using an area across
     the river from the Eifel Tower.  Nike wanted to put a large
     swoosh on the Arche de la Defense, but local officials
     objected, and Nike instead has a model of its oversized
     World Cup shoe, the Mercurial (BUSINESS WEEK, 6/15 issue). 
          RAZOR SHARP: In Boston, Gregg Kruppa wrote that for
     marketers, the World Cup "is the most important sports event
     on the planet."  Some advertising and marketing specialists
     assert that World Cup sponsors should have "at least" one-
     fifth of its sales overseas, while others contend that with
     "so many companies participating, individual messages can
     become muddled or lost in the din."  Gillette Dir of
     Advertising Tim Schramm, whose company will have ad boards
     positioned near the goals during Games: "It's a global event
     and we're a global company.  What our sponsorship is able to
     portray is that we are a world-class company sponsoring a
     world-class event."  Gillette, which has offered World Cup
     promotions in 70 countries, says that 70% of men between the
     ages of 18-25 watched some of World Cup '94.  MasterCard
     Senior VP/Global Promotions Mava Heffler said the company
     has issued 1.5 million World Cup affinity cards, 50% more
     than MasterCard issued during the entire World Cup '94.  But
     John Hancock President David D'Alessandro said that while
     the Cup is a "magnificent international event," it is "a
     joke for most American companies."  D'Alessandro: "People
     are looking at the millions of kids who play soccer in this
     country and they think it's going to become the American
     pastime.  They were wrong in '94 ... and they're wrong now"
     (BOSTON GLOBE, 6/7).  For more on the Cup, see (#19), (#20).
 
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