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Volume 24 No. 112

Sponsorships Advertising Marketing

          Nike "will once again call upon spokespuppet Li'l Penny
     to talk up its basketball products this fall and winter,"
     according to Jeff Jensen of AD AGE. In addition to Nike's TV
     ad campaign from OR-based Wieden & Kennedy, Crown Publishers
     has a Li'l Penny book and Playmates Toys has two Li'l Penny
     dolls hitting the market. In one TV spot to debut in
     November, L'il Penny is reading his book, "Knee High &
     Livin' Large," which will be released that month.  Around
     the "same time," Playmates will issue two dolls, one with a
     "voice supplied by Chris Rock."  Crown and Playmates "will
     support" with their "own publicity, and local retailer and
     radio promotions" (ADVERTISING AGE, 9/15).
          THE MARKET: The "basketball segment has sagged lately,"
     and "industry experts" report that '97 back-to-school sales
     of basketball shoes were down 10%, "with consumers scoffing
     at prices that last year were tolerated."  As for other
     brands, Reebok's top endorser, Allen Iverson, was recently
     arrested and "his marketability is being questioned;"  No. 3
     adidas America has a "hot brand," but "an unproven
     spokesperson" in Laker Kobe Bryant; No. 4 Fila USA has Grant
     Hill, "an icon" who can "move shoes," but Jensen adds that
     Fila "must improve on last year's line" (AD AGE, 9/15).
          STAR FLIGHT: Kate Starbird of the ABL Reign said she
     has signed a shoe deal with Nike in a deal "just finalized
     about a month ago" (ESPN SportsZone, 9/15)....Raptor rookie
     Tracy McGrady, and his deal with adidas, is profiled by
     Craig Daniels of the TORONTO SUN.  Robert Erb, adidas
     marketing exec: "We're not as big (as Nike).  We don't have
     as much money to throw around.  If we're to catch Nike, how
     do we do that?  With intelligent risk" (TORONTO SUN, 9/16).

          The next "big contract" on Tiger Woods' horizon "could
     be with an electronic game company," according to the
     "Bunker to Bunker" column in GOLFWORLD.  Software industry
     sources tell GOLFWORLD "bidding" for Woods' endorsement "has
     escalated to record proportions for the industry." reported that Microsoft, Sony and Sega say that
     they are "no longer in the running" for Woods, and CA-based
     EA Sports "seems to be leading."  A GOLFWORLD industry
     source values the deal at $15M (GOLFWORLD, 9/12).
          ENDORSEMENT SKINNY: GOLFWEEK's "Forecaddie" reports on
     the PGA's endorsement picture, noting that Phil Mickelson's
     "service isn't as hot as advertised," as he doesn't wear a
     hat or visor, "which limits any club company's TV time. ... 
     [don't] be surprised if he re-signs with Yonex."  In other
     news, Callaway "is said to be wooing" Fred Couples, "whom
     insiders say isn't happy about the way things are going at
     Lynx."  "Forecaddie" concludes with talk that the "next to
     join Team Nike" might be Arnold Palmer (GOLFWEEK, 9/13).

          Big League Bottling is selling $50 bottles of carbernet
     sauvignon with MLB logos on the bottle (U.S. NEWS & WORLD
     REPORT, 9/22 issue)....The Brett Hull "Hat Trick" candy bar
     was unveiled at the Kiel Club in St. Louis on August 28. 
     The bar comes in a wrapper with the Blues' colors (THE
     HOCKEY NEWS, 9/19 issue)....ESPN -- The Store opens today at
     the CA-based Glendale Galleria.  The prototype store is a
     collaboration of ESPN and The Disney Store (ESPN).

          Michael Moore's latest documentary, "The Big One,"
     which examines the corporate policies of Nike and features
     CEO Phil Knight, will be distributed by Miramax Films early
     next year, according to William Holstein of U.S. NEWS &
     WORLD REPORT.  Holstein writes that a "starring role in a
     movie by one of the nation's leading corporate critics is
     the last thing that Knight needs right now" and "the anti-
     Nike movement appears to be broadening."  Holstein: "There's
     no hard proof that any of the controversies has actually
     hurt Nike sales.  But all is not well in the marketplace.
     ... Nike headquarters has turned more than a little
     embattled."  A new Penny Hardaway shoe "has provoked
     complaints that Nike is exploiting inner-city youths," and a
     "Give Back Your Sneakers" protest is scheduled for September
     27 at NikeTown in New York.  In addition, Nike sales were
     "flat" this summer, and the company "is not performing as
     well as it was last year" (U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT, 9/22). 
     Glass examined the report by GoodWorks' Andrew Young in a
     review of the company's international code of conduct. 
     Glass wrote that Nike was GoodWorks's "first big client, its
     first chance to send corporate America evidence" that it did
     "good work," but "if the Nike report was 'classic Andy
     Young,' it was also a classic sham, marred not just by
     shoddy methodology but by frequent misrepresentations." 
     Glass added the report "lists consultants who were never
     consulted and includes photos of" union reps who "were not
     union officials."  Young "deliberately avoided the most
     obvious and controversial question -- whether Nike paid its
     employees fair wages -- and, when gathering testimony"
     relied exclusively on Nike translators.  Regarding
     contentions that GoodWorks listed consultants who were never
     spoken to, GoodWorks spokesperson Logan Ide "insists" the
     group was not trying to create a false impression.  Ide: "It
     surprises me that people will say that.  The heading only
     says we spoke with them.  Sometimes it just may have been
     very, very briefly" (NEW REPUBLIC, 9/8).
          PHIL CHIMES IN: In N.Y., Phil Mushnick noted Nike's PR
     challenges and the launch of the new Jordan subsidiary line:
     "Human-rights activists, here and abroad, have long implored
     Nike and [Michael] Jordan to show even a modicum of social
     responsibility.  But Jordan just shrugs" (N.Y. POST, 9/14).