Dale Earnhardt and Richard Childress announced yesterday
that they will enter the Winston Select in Charlotte this weekend
in a silver Chevrolet rather than "their traditional black paint
scheme," according to this morning's CHARLOTTE OBSERVER. The
change is to honor RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company's 25-Silver
Anniversary as sponsor of the Winston Cup series. Earnhardt told
T. Wayne Robertson of RJR's Sports Marketing: "Without you
folks, we wouldn't be here and the sport wouldn't be where it is
today (Tom Higgins, CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 5/18).
HONDA: After technical problems at last year's Indy 500, a
second straight "disaster this year" for Honda could "dismay and
discourage consumers at all levels of the operation," according
to this morning's CHICAGO TRIBUNE. Robert Clark, GM of Honda
Performance Development: "If we continue to have a poor
performance with our engine, sure it could hurt us in time" (Mike
Kilrey, CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 5/18). NASCAR NEWS: The Auto
Ventshade Company, a NASCAR Supertruck Series by Crafts award
sponsor, has unveiled a pair of new 30-second TV ads featuring TV
race commentator Mike Joy. The ads will run for a five month
campaign on TNN and Country Music TV....Jeff Gordon, P.J. Jones
and Robby Gordon have signed on as members of Sears Next
Generation DieHard Battery Team. Tom Yorton, Nat'l Marketing
Manager for Sears, said the drivers are featured in a 30-second
TV spot that first aired during the Daytona 500 (NASCAR NEWS).
Pistons rookie Grant Hill has signed a "major marketing slam
dunk" and will be on the cover of over 5 million boxes of
Kellogg's Frosted Mini-Wheats, according to Melanie Wells in this
morning's USA TODAY. Kellogg's Karen MacLeod said the Hill deal
was contingent on him winning the NBA's Rookie of the Year Award,
which he is sharing with Jason Kidd. There will be two cover
shots of Hill, one with him holding a basketball, the other with
him jumping (USA TODAY, 5/18). Fila, one of the company's Hill
endorses, ran a full-page ad in this morning's USA TODAY
congratulating Hill on his award with the tagline, "Fila, Change
the Game" (USA TODAY, 5/18). Hill appeared on PBS' "Charlie
Rose" last night, and with Kidd on "Good Morning America" today.
Kidd, asked by Charlie Gibson on sharing the award with Hill:
"As a point guard, I don't mind sharing the ball" (ABC, 5/18).
Hill, asked about the notoriety, endorsements and awards he has
received in his rookie year: "I'd give it all up to be playing
right now" ("Charlie Rose," PBS, 5/17).
NationsBank's Web site (http://www.nationsbank.com) offers
two free baseball tickets for Atlanta '96 if you order other
Olympic tickets using the bank's Visa card through the Internet
(ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 5/17)....GM is targeting gays and lesbians
by running an ad for Saturn in OUT magazine (USA TODAY,
5/18)....If the AVP is "trying to rid the sport of beach-bum
stereotypes," it didn't help matters with its choice of a title
sponsor for their event last weekend in San Diego, according to
SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. "The benefactor: 1-800-COLLECT" (SI, 5/22
issue)....Dana Mozie, the songwriter who wrote "Go, New York, Go"
for the Knicks is profiled in this morning's N.Y. DAILY NEWS.
Mozie will also write a song for the Bulls. Mozie: "If you want
to sound young and hip today, hip hop is it. The NBA knows that.
The NBA is smart. It's riding hip top to the top" (N.Y. DAILY
NEWS, 5/18).....Timberland's scheduled shift this summer of
plants from the U.S. to Asia, Europe and the Caribbean summer is
examined in today's WASHINGTON TIMES. Competition from athletic
footwear "giants" Nike, reebok and Adidas is cited as a reason
for profit losses (Jacqueline Gaulin, WASHINGTON TIMES, 5/18).
....Dorna USA and their Adtime signage system is profiled in the
N.Y. DAILY NEWS. Dorna "charges advertisers up to a cool $1M
depending on the number of stadiums the advertiser wants" (N.Y.
DAILY NEWS, 5/18)....New food options at MLB ballparks are
examined in this morning's WALL STREET JOURNAL. From Legal
Seafood's Clam Chowder at Fenway Park to Starbucks Coffee at
Wrigley Field, club owners and concessionaires are "trying to
keep up with consumers' demand for fresher fancier food." When
Wrigley Field concessionaire ARAMARK signed up Starbucks, the
Cubs also signed the company to a $30,000 promotional deal.
Starbucks now sponsors lineup announcements and advertises in
game programs (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 5/18).
Nintendo has reported a drop in profits for the third
consecutive year, citing the strength of the Japanese yen and
price competition from overseas. Their profit for the FY ended
March 31 totaled $1.14B, down from $1.15B from the previous year.
Sales declined by more than 24%. Goldman Sachs analyst Naoko Ito
said Nintendo will continue to lose revenue as video game users
shift from its older machines to more powerful technology
(BLOOMBERG BUSINESS NEWS/N.Y. TIMES, 5/18). The company also
announced a trial project to supply British Airways with games
for passengers to play during flights (Dawkins & Rowsthorn,
FINANCIAL TIMES, 5/18).
Trading card and comic book manufacturer Topps Co. will
acquire Britain's Merlin Publishing International PLC for close
to $50M. Merlin publishes sticker and album collections,
featuring sports, cartoon and entertainment figures popular among
children. Topps plans to close the deal this month, but Merlin
will retain its management team (DOW JONES NEWS SERVICE, 5/18).
Concessionaire Volume Services has doubled its "once-flat
business and won a desirable array of high-profile, long-term
clients," according to the current issue of AGENT & FACILITIES
magazine. Volume services "boasts the highest client retention
and contract extension rates in the industry," has become the
largest provider of food and merchandise to the NFL, and has
"broken new ground in its aggressive expansion" into minor league
parks. Although Volume Services "would not comment specifically
about its possible sale, some in the industry believe the company
"may be conducting its own behind-the-scenes effort to find a
suitable buyer" (AGENT & FACILITIES, 5/95 issue).