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Volume 24 No. 113

Sponsorships Advertising Marketing

     Sharp price increases for cotton and wool have "compounded
the woes of the apparel industry, which has been suffering for
months from sluggish consumer demand," according to Teri Agins of
the WALL STREET JOURNAL.  Apparel makers "are watching their
profit margins erode further because they can't risk losing
retail sales by passing on higher fabric costs."  Russell Corp.
has reported that 1stQ net income fell two cents to $.31/share
from last year.  While the 1st quarter is traditionally slow due
to clear outs of winter merchandise, this year apparel makers
cannot count on relief anytime soon "because stores remain
saddled with unsold inventory" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 4/21).

     Yesterday's round-up of the ad campaigns of the 28 MLB teams
mischaracterized the White Sox's approach.  Early this year, the
team elicited letters from fans on their feelings toward the Sox
and the game itself with a "Dear Sox" campaign.  According to Rob
Gallas, Senior VP of Marketing & Broadcasting, while many were
strike-related, the letters also included very "personal,
poignant and humorous" accounts of the fans' experiences through
the years.  The White Sox recently selected the best 75 of the
over 2,000 letters received and shot footage of those fans
relating their baseball and White Sox memories.  That footage was
then edited into TV ads, seven of which are already running.  The
campaign, which will run throughout the season, is being produced
by the team's ad agency, DiMeo-Rosen Partners of Chicago, and
could include as many as 15 spots featuring 25 fans.  The spots
range from a fan who has followed the team since 1925 to a man
who chose to get tatooed with a Sox logo rather than his wife's
name.  The fan responses and the ensuing media campaign will also
be featured in radio and newspaper ads, the White Sox game
programs, and the extra footage will be used in scoreboard
vignettes during games.  There are also plans for a coffee-table
book, with proceeds going to charity.  THE DAILY regrets the
error.

     Jacksonville-area retailers and regional manufactures expect
a "surge in sales of Jaguars apparel similar to peak sales times
during Christmas" as the NFL draft takes place this weekend.
Some NFL officials predict that the draft will kick off another
"buying frenzy" on apparel that will last until the start of the
season.  Sales of Jaguar apparel were last boosted when the team
made their recent logo change (Earl Daniels, FLORIDA TIMES-UNION,
4/21).

     The Indianapolis Motor Speedway announced plans for the
inaugural Indy FanFest -- a temporary racing theme park open the
last three weekends in May in the infield of the track.  The free
event culminates with the running of the Indy 500.  Attractions
include computer simulators, two theaters, children's pedal car
racing and various racing displays.  Sponsors include: LCI Int'l,
Chevrolet, Firestone, DeLong, Logo 7, Salem, Miller Brewing,
Budweiser, Kodak, Marlboro, Goodyear, MBNA, Valvoline, IBM,
Papyrus, Delco Electronics, Pennzoil and Skybox (Indy Motor
Speedway).

     Gillette Co. reported 1stQ earnings of $196.1M, up 20% from
$164M a year ago.  Gillette credits higher earnings with new
product development, geographic expansion and an "improved
product mix" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 4/21)....Puma USA has awarded
its ad account to Partners & Simons of Boston.  With billings
estimated between $4-8M, the account was previously handled by
Berlin Cameron Doyle in New York (N.Y. TIMES, 4/21)....Sprite has
filmed its second ad featuring NBA rookie Grant Hill.  In the ad,
Hill is challenged in one-on-one by "Little Tommy" who just drank
a Sprite (USA TODAY, 4/21)....The City of Pittsburgh and the U.S.
Cycling Federation announced that the '96 Thrift Drug Classic and
the '96 Thrift Drug Women's Invitational have been named as
events that count toward qualifying for the '96 U.S. Olympic Team
(Thrift Drug)....The CFL Argonauts and two other CFL teams will
feature new-look jersey fronts with four-inch numerals over the
left chest (TORONTO STAR, 4/21)....Video-game maker Interplay
Productions has announced the formation of VR Sports, a division
dedicated to sports software for game consoles and PCs
(Interplay).... Cobra Golf has filed suit in San Diego charging
McLaren Golf Corp. with importing over-sized knock-offs (Cobra
Golf).

     Pontiac, which dramatically increased its involvement with
NHRA teams in '95, will become the NHRA's official car in '96
replacing Oldsmobile....Amoco has become an associate sponsor of
the Bill Elliott McDonald's NASCAR Winston Cup team.  Amoco will
also be the name and title sponsor of the Amoco Knoxville
Nationals for sprint cars (ERNIE SAXTON'S MOTORSPORTS SPONSORSHIP
MARKETING NEWS).  In other news, TNN and the Dover Downs Int'l
Speedway extended their TV contract through 1999.  The new five-
year contract will keep the track's two NASCAR and Busch series
races televised live on TNN every year through '99 (NASCAR NEWS,
4/12 issue).
     CATCH THIS RISING STAR:  NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon is
profiled in the current issue of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED.  Ed Hinton
writes, "Gordon, the little (5'7") prodigy from the San Francisco
Bay Area -- darkly handsome, polished, polite, shy -- is the
rising star many NASCAR people think can lead them out of the
wilderness."  In his third Winston Cup season, Gordon has won
more races and more poles than any other driver on the circuit
(SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, 4/24).