Drew Bledsoe's strong start in the NFL season has made him a
natural target for endorsement deals. But his agent, Leigh
Steinberg, has "told them all the same thing: Please call back in
a few months." Bledsoe is "keeping his regional two year
commitment with McDonald's as well as a deal with Nike as his
only nonfootball associations." Steinberg and Bledsoe are also
trying to establish the Drew Bledsoe Foundation, a fund-raising
group for Boston area youth. Some see Steinberg's handling of
Bledsoe as similar to that of another client, Troy Aikman.
Aikman waited to cash in on his marketability and now "still
holds his private image along with two Super Bowl rings and a
popular LA Gear commercial" (Michael Holley, BOSTON GLOBE,
The symbols of Disney's main Orlando attractions -- like the
Mouse ears, Cinderella's castle and the Epcot sphere -- have been
added to the Tampa Bay area's "trademark tourism ad," as part of
an agreement between Pinellas County's tourism board and Disney.
Allen Humphrey, regional marketing dir for Disney in Tampa: "What
we're trying to do is make the Tampa Bay area 'closer' to
Disney." For years, St. Petersburg and Clearwater have touted
their 90-minute travel time from Disney. "But Disney guards its
scenes and symbols closely, and it took a year of negotiations
between Disney and the bureau before they ironed out how to
cooperate formally" (Jim Riley, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 10/13).
Converse Inc. will "go it alone" under parent company
Interco's latest restructuring plan. Interco had planned to sell
part of Converse in a public offering. "Instead, Interco will
spin off Converse to shareholders as part of a plan to break
itself into three separate public companies." The new plan will
allow Interco to refinance all of its debt and "give Converse a
better shot at raising equity capital in the future." Interco
shareholders will get new Converse shares (Jerri Stroud, ST.
LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 10/13).
OTHER SHOW NEWS: Sonics star Shawn Kemp is the latest to
join the ranks of players with shoes named in their honor.
Reebok and Kemp announced the creation of "Kamikaze Kemp's."
Retail price: $70. Kemp: "We made it cheaper so kids could
afford them. We didn't want them to have to come up with $120
like Jordan's. There's no gadgets. No air. I didn't want a
pump on it. None of that Shaq stuff. I wanted it just basic"
(SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 10/13).
Coleman Co. agreed to acquire Eastpak Inc., a privately held
maker of small backpacks. The maker of camping equipment said
Eastpak will continue to use the Eastpak brand name. Coleman
said Eastpak, which has an annual revenue of about $40M, will add
as much as five cents a share to Coleman's earnings (WALL STREET
JOURNAL, 10/13).... PepsiCo's snack unit Frito-Lay will feature
country music star Reba McEntire on three million bags of Fritos
Original for a fall promotion beginning Nov. 1 (W.S. JOURNAL,
10/13). ....St. John's University's basketball team unveils a new
nickname this year -- Red Storm (BOSTON HERALD, 10/12).
Reebok International has announced the signing of German
soccer star Jurgen Klinsmann to a multi-year endorsement
contract. In addition to signing Klinsmann, Reebok announced
that they have become a sponsor of the European soccer
association, UEFA Champions League. The three-year deal with the
UEFA includes a pan-European broadcast sponsorship and marketing
Volvo & Cannondale reiterate their happiness with sponsoring
a mountain bike racing team in announcing the recent success of
their Racing Team. Volvo notes that it is once again supporting
a sport "in its professional infancy." The Volvo in Cycling
program has been created to reach a younger active customer. In
addition to title sponsor of the Volvo & Cannondale Mountain Bike
Racing Team, Volvo's involvement in cycling includes the official
car status of both the Motorola Cycling team and the National
Multiple Sclerosis Bike Tour Series. Mountain bike racing will
receive Olympic medal status in '96 (VOLVO).