Greg Norman's bright, stylish Reebok outfits -- along with
his trademark wide-brimmed hat -- have become a signature look
and a key ingredient to his vast fan appeal. Last year, those
managing the Greg Norman Collection changed their retail approach
from golf shops to higher-end department stores, such as
Bloomingdale's in New York which was the test store for the
line's new concept. Earlier this week, THE SPORTS BUSINESS DAILY
spoke with Michael Stein, VP and General Merchandise Manager of
the Greg Norman Collection, on their strategy and plans for the
NOT JUST FOR GOLFERS ANYMORE: Stein said the "successful"
test at Bloomies led to a Greg Norman Shop and presence in Lord &
Taylor's and Nordstrom's. Stein: "The golf lifestyle is very
much a part of fashion today, and we feel that if we go in in a
very careful way to only the finest level of department stores,
we can maintain our 'green grass' [golf shop] business and grow
our business in a helpful way." There are also plans to set up
Norman displays in Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue. Stein
believes the move into high-end retail will not alienate the
golfer base, as they have remained conscious of their traditional
golf consumer. Stein said they plan to will make a special
grouping of merchandise, maybe 30% of their line, "green grass-
exclusive." Stein: "That is our heritage, and the cornerstone
of our business and we are not interested in vacating it, but
growing it to its maximum."
SHARK ATTACK: The Norman line will be marketed under the
"Attack Life" slogan. To kick off the summer campaign, the
Collection underwent a massive PR campaign in New York. Norman
did a personal appearance at Bloomingdale's and his face adorns a
huge 36 x 67 foot billboard on Broadway between 45th and 46th,
with the "Attack Life" tagline. The ad also runs on 40 bus
shelters around the city. Stein said a print media campaign
which will be featured in GQ, Esquire, Men's Journal, and
selective golf publications, beginning in July. A TV campaign
will commence next year.
HOW 'BOUT THOSE COLORS, MATE? Stein said the Norman look is
based on aboriginal, primitive designs from Norman's native
Australia. Although the colors and designs used to be "very wild
and very loud, and mostly primary colors," Stein said they are
now doing "more subtle elegant designs" to make the whole line
"an idea of dressy, elegant sportswear, not just golf clothing --
which means it can be worn anywhere, on the golf course, off the
course." The Norman Fall Line will be in stores starting August
NOT A "JOCK" LINE: Stein said the Greg Norman Collection,
with its offices in New York, is under their own umbrellas after
being part of Reebok Golf. Stein: "They will still own us. But
we run Greg Norman as a separate line company and are responsible
for a bottom line to Reebok as a separate company. We are doing
everything we can to take Reebok off the name because that
conjures up another kind of image and thought that we don't want
in our line. It is not 'athletic jock wear.' This is not
exercise clothing, this is elegant, worldly sportswear" (THE
"Golf's apparent boom may by deceiving," reads the headline
in this morning's WALL STREET JOURNAL. James Sterba examines the
popularity of the game and reports that "most golf experts"
disagree with the "widely held perception that golf is booming."
The National Golf Foundation (NGF) reports that participation has
experienced a decline across the board. Sterba: "Flatness?
Sure. Stagnation? We'll see. So far we're not talking anything
close to tennis' nose dive." Causes for the "flatness": The
perception of golf as a game for rich men, and the percieved
difficulty of getting on a golf course and playing 18 holes.
Phil Guarascio, VP Marketing for GM, compares golf today to GM in
the 60's, "facing mounting environmental concerns and needing to
diversify and contain costs." Diane Perlmutter, COO of Burson
Marsteller, which has been hired by the NGF to develop a PR plan
for the game, said that "in the public's eye to the fur-coat
industry as unfriendly to nature." The NGF's new logo has a golf
tee with a leaf growing out of it, with the slogan: "Golf. It's
Only Natural" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 6/30). In the current SI's
Golf Section, Jack Nicklaus says that "technology is killing
golf" (SI, 7/3 issue).
Peggy Fleming has signed with IMG for exclusive
representation. IMG has recently renegotiated her contract with
ABC-TV for her analyst role. IMG also books lectures and speaking
engagements for Fleming, most recently IBM, Sears and John
Hancock (IMG)....Calamari, anyone? The Red Wings' early exit
from the Cup Finals has left fish dealers in Detroit with
thousands of pounds of octopus. Merchants ordered extra in
preparation for an extended playoffs (WASHINGTON POST,
6/30)....Bullets GM John Nash on Jackie Wallace, mother of
Rasheed Wallace, selected by the Bullets: "I haven't met her yet,
but I can't wait. I just have visions of her in a Reebok ad."
... The 76ers "clearly beleive" their first round draft choice
Jerry Stackhouse can help them sell tickets. 76ers VP/ Business
Tom Chestnut: "One of the things I want to do is help get the
people excited about our team. Jerry's the type of player and
person that will make my job easier" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS,
6/29)...."Entertainment Tonight" profiled Pizza Hut's "stuffed
crust" ad campaign, which stars, among others, Spurs David
Robinson and Dennis Rodman ("ET," 6/29)....CNN's Jan Hopkins
reported on "Moneyline" that Coors had "dismal" second quarter
earnings, due in part to the fact that sales of Zima fell 60%,
despite a "heavily hyped advertising campaign." The company said
it has no plans to discontinue Zima ("Moneyline," CNN,
6/29)....New Balance owner Jim Davis will appear in court on July
18 in Washington to explain to a law judge "why its athletic
shoes should continue to sport their 'Made in the USA'" label"
(BOSTON HERALD, 6/29).
NHL Enterprises has signed as the licensing agent for the
East Coast Central Hockey League. NHL Enterprises will take over
all licensing activity for the ECHL and its 21 clubs, including
logo redesign, retail marketing and positioning, as well as
oversight and execution of worldwide licensing activity (ECHL/NHL
Pepsi-Cola, the official soft drink of NASCAR, has signed
Richard Petty as an endorser. Petty, a seven-time NASCAR Winston
Cup champion, has signed a multi-year agreement that will include
national promotions as well as fountain cups and point-of-sale
materials featuring Petty. Promotional sweepstakes are also
planned. Financial details were not disclosed (ERNIE SAXTON
The state of the Boston/Foxborough MLS team and the entire
league is examined by Frank Dell'Apa in this morning's BOSTON
GLOBE. "Signs are pointing to the league becoming a sponsors
battleground," and Nike "has taken the first step by placing"
star players Jorge Campos in L.A. and Tab Ramos in New York.
Alexi Lalas has been targeted by Boston. Reebok will sponsor the
Boston and Washington teams, and "likely supply marquee players.
Adidas will sponsor Columbus and Kansas City; Puma has Denver;
and Nike has Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, San Jose and Tampa
(BOSTON GLOBE, 6/30).