SBJ/March 4 - 10, 2002/This Weeks Issue

New Balance asks what makes women run in its 2 new spots

New Balance will break two new spots in its "Achieve New Balance" campaign from Messner, Vetere later this month, both featuring women.

"Storm," shot in Iceland, depicts a lone woman running in the open as a storm approaches. She seeks refuge in an underpass and sees the sky on the other side has cleared. "What keeps you running?" asks the voice-over before the tag line appears.

The second spot has a woman frenetically running staircases. She stops for a bite of chocolate as a reward before continuing her pace, but not before the rhetorical question "What keeps you going?" is posed.

"We still love the 'Achieve' campaign, but we wanted to pound away on the performance message more," said New Balance vice president of marketing Paul Heffernan.

ADIDAS ONLINE: Adidas is the latest World Cup sponsor to sign on as a sponsor for the fifaworldcup.com site being hosted, marketed and sold by Yahoo! As a gold-level sponsor, Adidas gets promotional support and animated ads. The low-seven-figure buy also includes an ad schedule on Yahoo!

Adidas plans to use the sponsorship on the French, German, Japanese and Korean fifaworldcup.com sites to tout the intro of its Predator soccer boot, to push its own soccer microsite and to promote the World Cup itself in the weeks before and during the tourney.

Cheez-It is marching out its Big School Duel.

CHEEZY AMBUSH: Keebler is launching an artful NCAA Final Four assault promotion to support the rollout of its Fast Break Cheez-It crackers, a temporary, or "in-and-out," snack product. Keebler is attempting to capture some Final Four cachet by making its snack crackers in a basketball shape during the tourney.

Without official sanction, the accompanying promo is called the Big School Duel. It is an instant-win contest splashed over 5 million cracker boxes containing game pieces with 34 NCAA teams — not coincidentally teams where promotion company Van Wagner Sports & Entertainment has relationships.

Holders of pieces matching the school that advances furthest in the NCAA tourney win Starter basketball jerseys from that school. A drawing from among those winners will give away a big-screen TV.

Support is via print ads in TV Guide, Sports Illustrated and USA Today, free-standing end-aisle point-of-sale displays and a free-standing insert dropping to 45 million households later this month.

HEROIC DEALS: You might expect that as spring training begins, World Series star Luis Gonzalez has more deals than he has ever had before. Most notable among them is one that puts him on the cover of Electronic Arts' MLB-licensed Triple Play Game, being released later this month. Gonzalez will appear in ads for the game as well. Also new is a deal with Easton to do print and possibly radio ads for the company's balls and bats. Local deals have come from Legend Cadillac and Shamrock Farms Milk, which is putting Gonzalez's likeness on milk cartons. Mark Clayton at Assante Marketing handles Gonzalez's deals.

COMINGS AND GOINGS: Eric Handler to director of pro tennis publicity at the U.S. Tennis Association. He was with ESPN in a similar PR capacity. ... Industry sources say Gillette, a big sports spender, is in the midst of a comprehensive review of its properties. The razor and battery marketer is MLB's oldest corporate sponsor. ... Hershey Foods has hired Muggsy Bogues as spokesman for an NCAA promo pushing its Fast Break candy bar. The contest winner attempt to shoot a basket from anywhere on the court within six seconds of receiving the ball on the opposite baseline. The winner will get a lifetime supply of candy. The stunt will be televised live as part of the Final Four pregame on CBS. ... MLB Advanced Media senior vice president of sponsorships Jim Durham exits after a year to return to private practice in legal training and consulting in Boston. ... Former MLB Properties marketer Steve McKelvey to the University of Massachusetts as a professor of sports marketing and sports law in its Sport Management Program.

Terry Lefton can be reached at tlefton@amcity.com.

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