IS NIKE A TENNIS EVIL OR A TENNIS GOOD?
In the current issue of TENNIS magazine, columnist Peter
Bodo addresses Nike's involvement in the sport and the
controversy surrounding the company and its endorsers. In a
piece entitled "Why Nike doesn't suck," Bodo writes while stars
such as Boris Becker and Jana Novotna have complained that Nike
has too much influence, "nobody is doing anything nearly as
contemporary, effective and powerful as Nike" in tennis
marketing. Bodo notes campaigns such as Nike's "guerilla tennis"
ads featuring Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi "may be the only
thing that stands between you and an image of tennis that is
built around those lame U.S. Tennis Association TV commercials
featuring kittens climbing on tennis balls or Chris Evert making
a stiff, insipid pitch for tennis that has all the sex appeal of
a public-service announcement. ... Nobody has been better able to
project tennis as a sport that belongs on equal footing with the
other major spectator sports than Nike." Bodo admits Nike is
"taking over tennis," but adds, "Nike has stuck with tennis
through thick and thin, riding out the bad times as well as
riding high on the good ones. In advertising, they call that
'brand loyalty'" (TENNIS, 1/96).
ON THE STREET: Nike shares rose $2.75 yesterday to a 52-
week high of $63. Analysts credit the rise to "good sales of its
products" -- including the Air Penny and Air Jordan models -- and
strong interest in Nike's earnings report due out next week (DOW
JONES NEWS SERVICE, 12/14).