SBD/Issue 219/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

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  • Plank Discusses UA's Efforts, Bullish On Continued Growth In '08

    Plank Bullish On Continued Growth
    For Under Armour In '08
    Under Armour (UA) Chair & CEO Kevin Plank, in a Q&A with the N.Y. TIMES' Elizabeth Olson for the paper's Saturday Interview feature, said, "To be the world's No. 1 athletic sporting goods brand, we need to be a player in footwear." Plank added, "We're in a growth and investment period right now, and we have five growth engines. The first is our core men's apparel, which was up 14[%] over the first six months of this year. A second is our core women's apparel, and that was up 27[%] in the same period. We also will grow our footwear business, and ultimately make it larger than apparel. Our international business is another component, and the fifth is our direct consumer business, including our Web site and factory stores." Plank said UA grew 53% in '06 and 41% in '07. Plank: "Our latest guidance says we'll grow another [26-28%] this year in a 95[%] U.S.-based business. We've felt the strain from the market, but we've continued to outperform all others in the spaces where we play." Plank said of UA's plans for retail and outlet stores, "We have a full-priced store that opened in Annapolis, and another just outside of Chicago that opened in May. We'll open a third outside Boston later this month. And we'll have 25 to 26 factory stores by the end of the year. We're moving forward" (N.Y. TIMES, 8/2).

  • Musical Acts, Armstrong To Lend Support To Nike's Human Race

    Nike+ Human Race To Be Held 
    Simultaneously In 25 Cities Globally
    Cyclist Lance Armstrong and musical acts including rapper Kanye West "will lend star power" to the August 31 Nike+ Human Race, which will be held simultaneously in 25 cities and is being billed as the "world's first global 10K," according to Jim Hage of the WASHINGTON POST. The U.S. races will take place in the early evening and "will be followed by musical acts, much like Nike's Run Hit Wonder series that began in 2003." However, unlike that series, Nike "has no plans to continue the Human Race beyond this year." Nike has hired "top race management companies in each of the host cities, but this is clearly Nike's show, fueled by Nike's money." Nike Media Relations Manager Jacie Prieto: "This has been a huge focus, company-wide." Conley Sports CEO John Conley, whose company is managing the Austin, Texas, Human Race: "There's lots of creativity, plenty of adaptations, and it's an exciting way to do business. But it's not our race -- I'm much more risk-averse than Nike. We're just along for the ride." Chicago race official Sue Hopkinton said that she "expects 15,000 runners" for the Chicago race (WASHINGTON POST, 8/3).

    WORKER RIGHTS: Nike said that it "has taken steps to correct worker-abuse problems in a factory it uses in Malaysia," an action that the company said "reflects its concerns about the country's chronic labor shortage and how it affects factory workers" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 8/4). In Portland, Richard Read reported Nike "plans to investigate all 37 of its contract factories in Malaysia after a television station found that one plant garnished wages, housed foreign workers in squalor and withheld their passports." Australia broadcaster Channel 7 said that it "found 'human trafficking on a massive scale' at the T-shirt factory, where foreign workers were paid a pittance to manufacture apparel." The TV report last week said that "workers were housed 26 to a room in filthy conditions, with hundreds of men bathing in a single trough" (Portland OREGONIAN, 8/2).

  • Marketplace Roundup

    In Chicago, Toomey & Green reported White Sox CF Ken Griffey Jr.'s 600th home run ball sold for $42,000 at the ESPN Zone in Chicago Friday night as part of a "high-end auction of items linked to some of the biggest names in American sports history." A 1909 Honus Wagner baseball card sold for a record-setting $1.62M and was the highest-selling item. Barry Bonds' 760th home run ball sold for $32,400. The auction was conducted by Illinois-based Mastro Auctions and was billed as "the world's most concentrated auction of high-end sports memorabilia" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 8/2). Meanwhile, in N.Y., Cynthia Fagen reported a "one-of-a-kind card valued at $20,000 will be randomly packaged" inside one of Topps' new $300 four-card box sets of Babe Ruth cards hitting shelves in November. The card will feature "real swatches of [Ruth's] uniforms, a sliver from his bat and an autograph" (N.Y. POST, 8/3).

    AD-AWARE: Sources indicated that Anheuser-Busch's marketing department has "suddenly begun receiving unsolicited, fully produced (and expensive) commercials for some of its beer brands from non-roster agencies looking to get a piece of the business from A-B, which spends hundreds of millions annually on its high-profile advertising." There has also been indications that A-B Exec VP/Global Industry Development & Chief Creative Officer Bob Lachky "has been turning to some of the brewery's roster ad agencies and asking them if they can top what he has been seeing" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 8/4).

    Georgia Tech Players Pleased With
    New White Jerseys With Gold Accents
    NEW JACKETS: In Atlanta, Jenna Marina reported Georgia Tech "unveiled its new [football] uniforms Saturday at the Great Jacket Encounter fan day, and the players were happy about their new white jerseys with their gold accents." Georgia Tech "got rid of its metallic gold jersey/white pants combination from the past several years." The players have "already started brainstorming about mixing up the color scheme" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 8/3).

    NO BULL: More than 80,000 people Saturday attended Red Bull's Flugtag in downtown Portland, where competitors attempted to fly homemade contraptions. In Portland, Nicole Santa Cruz wrote the event is a marketing effort for Red Bull, and an example of how the company takes product placement to a "whole new level." Though most spectators "weren't drinking Red Bull or may not have even known the sponsor before arriving, they knew when they got there, as Red Bull logos filled the scene." Participant Robby Marshall said of the event, "It's an experience rather than a sense" (, 8/2).

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