SBJ/March 18 - 24, 2002/Marketingsponsorship

If you want to kick for Gillette's million, you'll have to do it outside the U.S.

The Gillette Co. is well-known for big-event promotions in the United States tied to the renowned shoot-for-a-million-bucks theme. For soccer's World Cup 2002, Gillette is taking the million-dollar shot almost everywhere — everywhere except the United States.

"This is for the rest of the world, where [soccer] is the game," said Michele Szynal of Gillette's Global Business Management division. "Our products are global. Most of our sales are outside the U.S. More than half."

The "Shoot For $1 Million" promotion that culminates in Yokohama, Japan, on June 29, the day before the World Cup Final, is Gillette's first attempt to support a worldwide shoot-out campaign. The company is taking the contest to 72 countries, where its marketers are adapting the setup to cultural preferences. Consumers will participate by trying a random scratch-and-win or entering sweepstakes in retail stores.

"That's up to the individual country," Szynal said. "But once [a country] has a consumer selected, it is then imperative that the rules be consistently presented, whether it's Russia or Argentina."

With each of the participating markets sending at least one qualifying contestant to the World Cup, about 80 in all, contest winners will not be alone in keeping their eyes on the ball.

"Logistics for this promotion are a little daunting," Szynal said. Gillette is coordinating travel and a five-day stay in Japan for the winners, with 16 advancing to a sudden-death kickoff that leaves one person attempting to kick a soccer ball through a target for $1 million. Dutch soccer legend Ruud Gullit, Gillette's World Cup spokesman, will act as a "coach" for the 16 hopefuls during the sudden-death round.

Szynal said the company's World Cup sponsorship began in 1970 and will continue through at least the 2006 Cup in Germany. Its previous U.S.-based shoot-outs were tied to pro baseball, football and golf, and college basketball. Only one, during a past NCAA basketball championship tournament, resulted in a million-dollar winner.

NO EX-SEPP-TIONS: As widely predicted, FIFA President Joseph “Sepp” Blatter was not able to hold off detractors within the organization, and the divided FIFA executive committee recently voted to go forward with an internal audit of the body's finances. Concern about the organization's health persisted even after a standing finance committee approved a 2001 audit by KPMG International.

A six-member special panel faces an April 30 deadline, which falls only one month before Blatter stands for re-election on the eve of World Cup 2002. The audit panel's chair is Scottish FIFA member David Will, who said recently that he fears FIFA absorbed a $284 million loss last year when the parent company of its marketing partner, ISL, filed for bankruptcy and dissolved, according to The Times of London.

Blatter has consistently said the effect of ISL's demise was minimal.

Landon Donovan’s management gives his new role with EA Sports a thumbs-up.

CLEARED FOR LANDON: Having already become Nike's American soccer "poster boy," U.S. national team and Major League Soccer idol Landon Donovan is expanding his horizons. According to the head of the management team handling Donovan's deals, his new role as U.S. spokesman for EA Sports' 2002 FIFA WorldCup interactive game is just the start.

"The deal actually continues for a couple of years after the World Cup, and hopefully beyond," said Richard Motzkin, president and CEO of SportsNet Marketing and Management of Los Angeles.

Donovan, 20 on March 4, also has a multiyear deal with Nike. Motzkin's agency is expected to represent about one-third of the USA's 23-man World Cup roster and coach Bruce Arena.

THIRSTY FOR BECKHAM: In the debate over which type of tie-in — star player or successful team — is preferable, chalk one up for the team approach.

In addition to being a FIFA World Cup 2002 partner, Coke has marketing relationships across the sport, including with the major umbrella organization of European professional clubs, UEFA, a frequent FIFA antagonist. Coke also sponsors 38 national soccer teams worldwide.

U.K. fans were greeted last week by news that superstar David Beckham, who has a reported $1.4 million endorsement contract with Pepsi, appears with two English national teammates on a special World Cup Coke bottle now in distribution. It is the result of a provision in Coke's English team sponsorship deal.

Steve Woodward can be reached at SteveWoodwardHere@hotmail.com.

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