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SBD/Issue 82/Sponsorships, Advertising & MarketingPrint All
Laura Davies played the LPGA Tour's first event of the season with a Srixon logo on her shirt, visor and bag, according to GOLF WORLD. Davies, who has "long represented" Japan-based clubmaker Maruman Golf, but has used a Srixon ball since '99, said that Srixon "currently is developing a set of irons" that she will play. Golfer Se Ri Pak has also switched clubs from Callaway irons to Tommy Armour 845s. Additionally, Brandie Burton "traded" her Hogan irons for Titleist irons (GOLF WORLD, 1/19 issue).
BUICK INKS HENRY: Buick has signed first-year PGA Tour pro J.J. Henry to a sponsorship agreement. Henry will wear a Buick hat at all PGA Tour events, appear in Buick ads and make appearances on behalf of the company. Henry finished 13th on the '00 Buy.com Tour money list with $192,287. Henry joins Tiger Woods, Ben Crenshaw, and David Berganio as Buick touring pros for '01 (Buick).
Kelly Tires is ending its corporate sponsorship of the annual Blue-Gray All-Star Football Classic after 14 years of being held on Christmas Day, according to Tim Gayle of the Montgomery (AL) ADVERTISER, who wrote the company "has pulled the plug on its financial commitment" to the game after being liquidated by its parent company, Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. Blue-Gray Exec Dir Charles Jones, who declined to comment on the amount of the sponsorship, said of Kelly Tires, "They pay us a sponsor fee and they have to buy so many (advertising) spots with ABC [which carries the game]. After that, their money was spent on favors for the players and coaches hats, jackets, crystal for the coaches' wives. And they underwrote our Hall of Fame. Those things weren't contractual." Jones added that "there was no timetable on finding" a new major sponsor, but noted the game would "need to have somebody in place" by April 1 "if they were going to sponsor this year's game." Jones will meet with ABC to discuss the game's TV contract, which ends in '02 but has options through '05 (ADVERTISER, 1/17).
ARE YOU NUTS? In Dallas, Leah Beth Ward writes that Electronic Data Systems will launch a new Super Bowl spot called "Running with the Squirrels," which "likens helpless customers to bullfighters, muscle-bound but unable to outrun their more nimble competitors." The spot will run twice during Super Bowl XXXV and will also appear in post-game shows (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 1/18)....David Letterman, on the Super Bowl: "They're playing the game down in Tampa, Florida, so we should have a winner sometime in March." Letterman: "The winner will be either the Giants, the Ravens or Pat Buchanan" ("Late Show," CBS, 1/17).
ENTERPRISING QB: Former VA Tech QB Michael Vick signed an exclusive marketing rep deal with Kelly Enterprises, which will handle his endorsements and PR. The NFLPA confirmed that Vick also has a separate representation agreement with VA-based Joel Enterprises. Andy Joel and Dan Kelly, the brother of former Bills QB Jim Kelly, will handle contract negotiations for Vick (TIMES-DISPATCH, 1/18).
THE ROOF IS ON FIRE: Brewers VP/Marketing Laurel Prieb "confirmed" that the team will "unleash the first in a series of radio and television ads next week designed to stoke the fires of fan enthusiasm" for the opening of Miller Park. Prieb said that the "marketing blitz" will include "newspaper advertising as well as billboards." The first billboard is scheduled to go up this morning. Many radio and TV ads will feature Brewers broadcaster Bob Uecker. Prieb did not disclose the ad budget for this year, but "insiders familiar with the past campaigns estimated it to be" $250,000-$300,000 (JOURNAL SENTINEL, 1/18).
NOTES: In Minneapolis, Dennis Brackin reports that the marketing theme for the Twins in '01 will be "Get to know 'em." Also, with the election of former Twins CF Kirby Puckett to the baseball HOF, the Twins are planning a "special edition Puckett Hall of Fame bobblehead" doll (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 1/18)....In Detroit, Terry Foster notes that Nike "received several phone calls" from people who believed the new Nike Shox made "springlike sounds" like in the "successful boing commercials." Nike Senior Manager of Corporate Communications Scott Reames: "That is why we say you should always test-drive your shoes before buying them. I think most people would find the shoes annoying (if they made sounds). It was just a fun and whimsical campaign for us" (DETROIT NEWS, 1/18).
CA-based Quiksilver Inc. is "expanding its reach beyond the beach and the skateboard park" by unveiling a golf division called Fidra, according to Andrew Bluth of the ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, who wrote that the new golf division will be led by John Ashworth, "who co-founded and designed his own line of" golf clothing that bears his last name before joining Quiksilver. Ashworth will serve as President of the division and will oversee design, marketing and sales. Fidra will debut next week at the PGA's trade show in Orlando and new products "are expected to hit the stores" in June (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 1/17).
During the first episode of "Survivor II," set to air on Super Bowl Sunday, MA-based Reebok will debut its new TV ad campaign around Venus Williams, via Berlin, Cameron & Partners, N.Y., with the tag: "Defy convention," according to Joseph Pereira of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. In the spots, Reebok is casting Williams "in genteel environs in an effort to lend a touch of class to its admittedly worn-out image." Williams will be shown "posing in vintage cars, sashaying down glittery streets and wearing a wardrobe worthy of a fashion runway." By casting an athlete in a non-athletic role, Reebok "hopes to build the perception that folks who wear its goods are iconoclasts." The company reported that although young consumers "frequently respond well to new Reebok shoes in marketing focus groups, they thumb their noses after discovering who made them." Reebok CEO Paul Fireman, on the company's image: "We have a brand that hasn't been held in the highest regard" (WSJ, 1/18).
A STITCH IN TIME SAVES TWO? USA TODAY's Debbie Becker writes that for her second-round match at the Australian Open, Williams wore the same three-piece low-cut dress she wore in the first round, but with "strategically-placed stitches that guaranteed a less-controversial amount of cleavage was showing." Williams said that "she was happy with her outfit and she didn't pay any attention to the fuss" over it. Williams: "I've been advised not to read the media, especially when they are writing about me. I love the outfit. I felt relaxed, comfortable and just beautiful" (USA TODAY, 1/18). ESPN2's Pam Shriver said when Williams took the court for her opening-round match, "more people were concentrating on her outfit than her game." ESPN2's Mary Joe Fernandez, on the controversial dress: "It looks a little bit more under control today, though." Shriver responded, "It's only the second game" (ESPN2, 1/17).
NOW WITH SERVICE TO SPRINGFIELD: SPORTS ILLUSTRATED's "Scorecard" reports Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras and the Williams sisters will guest-star on the February 11 episode of Fox' "The Simpsons." On the show, "Homer and the gang enter a tennis tournament and eventually meet up with the four stars." "The Simpsons" co-Exec Producer Ian Maxtone-Graham said, "The Williams sisters are my favorite athletes. This was my way to meet them." Maxtone-Graham also directed Venus and Serena Williams when they recorded their dialogue, "and he observed firsthand their competitive nature." Maxtone-Graham: "Anytime celebrities come on the show, we make them sign a stack of scripts so we can sell them when we're all out of work. They were signing a huge stack, and at some point it became a race. These are the best tennis players in the world, and all they were interested in was beating each other at signing scripts" (SI, 1/22 issue).