Chrysler is strengthening its presence in auto racing to
"buttress the sporty mystique" of the Dodge name and bolster
performance across its product line, according to BRANDWEEK.
Chrysler will make its first entry in the Le Mans race with a
Dodge Viper, and it is racing four vehicles in the NASCAR Super
Truck series. Dodge Exec Dir of Motor Sports Operations Lou
Patane said racing helps Dodge's brand identity at a grass roots
level through increased dealer programs such as ticket giveaways
and local sponsorships. Chrysler is also racing two Dodge
Stratus sedans at the new Super Touring Championship series,
selling a racing package for Dodge/Plymouth Neon for weekend
races, and taking part in drag racing events by the NHRA. Racing
imagery is also "likely" as part of BBDO's Dodge ads. Consultant
Jim Wangers, while "supportive" of their plans, said Chrysler
"needs to get into NASCAR's primary loop" to get the most out of
race-based marketing (Steve Gelsi, BRANDWEEK, 5/27). RACING
NOTES: NASCAR's marketing machine was profiled in the WASHINGTON
POST. Martha Hamilton notes NASCAR fans are, "devoted, not just
to the races and the cars and the drivers, but to the companies
whose corporate logos adorn them" (WASHINGTON POST,
5/26)....Members of Joe Gibbs's McDonald's drag racing team will
appear with McDonald's Winston Cup driver Bill Elliott on 15
million boxes of Kellogg's Raisin Bran in stores soon as part of
a joint promo between Kellogg's, Mattel Hot Wheels and McDonald's
(NATIONAL SPEED SPORT NEWS, 5/22 issue)....IndyCar has named
Allsport as its official photographer (IndyCar)....Kenwood joins
with Circuit City to sponsor the second annual "Speed of Sound
Tour," a series of 10 free concerts in conjunction with major
NASCAR races from May-November (BRANDWEEK, 5/27).
Reebok has entered the inflatable ball category through a
licensing deal with KY-based Hutch, according to SPORTING GOODS
BUSINESS. Company officials say the move is the first step
toward expanding into team sports and hard goods. Reebok-branded
volleyball, basketball and soccer balls debut this fall, all in
"mid to upper price points." Footballs will follow "some time
after." The positioning and marketing of the Reebok line will
be different to that of Nike's. Nike and its ball licensee, Voit
Sports Int'l, priced balls "considerably higher" than market
leaders Spalding and Wilson, and chose not to seek affiliations
or supply deals with major teams and leagues. Reebok VP of
Sports Equipment and Licensing John Frascotti said price and
exposure will be the main components of Reebok's marketing
strategy (SPORTING GOODS BUSINESS, 5/96 issue).
While authentic clothing and electronic games are generally
thought as the "hottest growth areas" in licensed products,
housewares and home furnishings have "quietly created" their own
presence, according to SPORTING GOODS BUSINESS. The NBA reports
a 70% growth for licensed housewares in each of the last three
years, and the NFL At Home collection totaled $900M in sales for
'95. Almost all sales are outside the "sporting goods channel,"
with JCPenney and other department stores leading the way. Home
specialty stores and catalogs account for most of the rest.
League officials note the items can fill a void with the "soft"
licensed apparel market (SGB, 5/96 issue).
VitroRobertson, San Diego, starts its campaign for Asics
shoes with the positioning strategy: people buy shoes for
performance. A series of eleven print ads for Asics Tiger starts
in July (BRANDWEEK, 5/27)....NBC and the NFL will join for a
watch and win promo supporting the NFL's football-themed free-
standing insert. The insert features John Elway, along with
Ernest Borgnine and Jonathan Silverman of NBC's "The Single Guy"
(BRANDWEEK, 5/27).... Fila is profiled in the Baltimore SUN.
Analyst Susan Silverstein on Fila's stock: "The stock trades on
expectations, and expectations are that the company will keep
growing" (Baltimore SUN, 5/26)....Luquire George Andrews, Inc.
has been retained by the ACC and ACC Properties to handle event
organization and other promotions (CHARLOTTE BUSINESS JOURNAL,
5/27 issue)....FootAction USA will be title sponsor of the
upcoming AVP event in Dallas (AVP)....Adidas replaced Nike as the
official race sponsor for the 18th annual Bolder Boulder Memorial
Day 10K Road Race (ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, 5/26)....Ground Zero,
Santa Monica, has been retained by ESPN Inc. to create a consumer
and trade campaign for ESPN2 (N.Y. TIMES, 5/29)....The Pro Beach
Soccer Tour announced the signing of a letter of understanding
with Umbro for a two-year global sponsorship of the Tour in the
Athletic Apparel category (Pro Beach Soccer Tour)....A NJ Federal
Court judge barred the sale of long sleeve T-shirts bearing the
image of Dennis Rodman-like tatoos on the body and arms. The
court noted that T-shirt maker, Fanatics Apparel, "appeared to be
profiting" from Rodman's fame ("Moneyline," CNN, 5/28).
Reebok will team with Visa, Fox, Foot Locker and the NFL for
a season-opening game-card promo to introduce Reebok's reversible
"home and away" licensed NFL jersey, according to Terry Lefton of
BRANDWEEK. The new jerseys will be sold exclusively at Foot
Locker, and around 10 million instant-win game cards will offer
prizes including Foot Locker discounts with the use of a Visa
card. Lefton notes this is "easily Foot Locker's biggest NFL
promo," and it is designed to counter the debut of Nike's Pro
Line apparel this fall. The promo will be backed by a five-week,
$1M-plus ad run on Fox's NFL telecasts starting in late August.
Reebok's jerseys will get "prime" placements in the 1,500 Foot
Locker outlets and a "gift-with-purchase poster element" is also
"under consideration." An auto marketing partner is still being
sought to add a car as part of the prize. Through its deal with
the NFL, Reebok's new line will include name jerseys from Emmitt
Smith and Nike athletes Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders. Lefton
also notes the promo may help the "strained" relationship between
Foot Locker and Reebok (BRANDWEEK, 5/27 issue).
Taylor Made Golf promoted George Montgomery as its new
President & CEO, replacing Charles Yash who left to help form the
Callaway Ball Co. Montgomery joined Taylor Made as VP of
Marketing three and half years ago and was a "driving force"
behind the launch of Taylor Made's Burner Bubble metal woods in
'95. This year, he was "instrumental" in introducing the Burner
Bubble irons and Titanium Bubble line (Kathy Day, North County,
CA, TIMES, 5/23).