Sponsorship of NASCAR by companies targeting female
demos was examined by CNN's Stephen Frazier on "Impact."
Frazier: "What would the makers of Tide detergent or Kraft
cheese or Aquafresh toothpaste like about stock car racing?
Turns out they like a lot. ... Sponsors really like the
drivers. More than most athletes, they appeal to women as
well as men." Frazier examined Dale Jarrett, who wears the
colors of White Rain shampoo on his driving suit and his
Thunderbird. Frazier: "In Jarrett, sponsors get a winner
but they don't get an attitude. No making kids pay for an
autograph. No spitting into an umpire's face. No kicking a
cameraman in the groin." Eric Kraus, Dir of Communications
for Gillette, which makes White Rain: "Jarrett is one of the
premier drivers on the NASCAR circuit. He's good looking,
he's articulate, he has attributes that people like. ...
More women go to NASCAR events than to any other sporting
event in the country. And then when you look at the number
of women who are watching this at home you start thinking,
'My God, this could be something that we could get White
Rain involved with.'" Frazier reported that 72% of NASCAR
fans buy products of league sponsors, and concluded, "It is
this connection that is driving NASCAR's astounding growth,
this link to a national audience -- a young, college
educated and affluent crowd" ("Impact," CNN, 10/12).
Logo Athletic "is on the verge of inking" IN Univ.
Coach Bobby Knight to a four-year "low to mid six-figure per
year" deal, according to Terry Lefton of BRANDWEEK. Under
the "pending deal," Knight will move from Starter, which he
has worn the past four years, to Logo Athletic. Logo
Athletic is expected to use Knight for appearances and in TV
ads with other top endorsers, including Troy Aikman, but
"probably not before next fall" (BRANDWEEK, 10/13 issue).
MUNCHIES: BRANDWEEK's Lefton also reports that Nabisco
has signed a five-year, $10M sponsorship deal with the NCAA,
making it the "official snack food for NCAA Championships."
Nabisco receives cookie and salty snack food exclusivity, a
media presence and participation in Host Communications' new
NCAA Final Four Fan Fest (BRANDWEEK, 10/13 issue)....Though
"eschewing an NFL re-up this year," Frito-Lay will use Super
Bowl XXXII for a $10M intro of Lay's Deli Style chips, part
of the company's $60M-plus "ad warchest" for three new chip
launches through '98 (BRANDWEEK, 10/13 issue).
Anheuser Busch "has been refused permission to run
virtual ads" for its Budweiser beer in World Cup stadiums,
because of France's "strict alcohol advertising laws." A-B,
which spent $20M to sponsor the World Cup, has been trying
to negotiate a compromise with the French government
(REUTERS, 10/12)....NJ-based Genesis Direct has acquired the
official NASCAR catalog and other business units from H&L
Productions Inc. In addition to the NASCAR catalog title,
Genesis also acquired the official catalog of the Nat'l Hot
Rod Association, NASCAR Shop Talk transactional TV show and
H&Ls commercial promotions business (MEDIA CENTRAL, 10/14).
...In the FINANCIAL TIMES, Victoria Griffiths wrote "this
year" is "important" for Reebok "in terms of new lines,"
with Reignman II already on shelves and The Answer to debut
in November. Salomon Brothers analyst Brett Barakett:
"Based on the high quality of its new product line, the
company may be at the very beginning of a turnaround"
(FINANCIAL TIMES, 10/11)....Blimp advertising was examined
by Bill Richards of the WALL STREET JOURNAL, who writes that
there are expected to be "at least" six blimps at Super Bowl
XXXII (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 10/14)
MLB "is close to signing MasterCard to a top
sponsorship deal," according to BRANDWEEK's Terry Lefton.
Sources told Lefton that "nothing is signed but MasterCard
appears to have the edge" over Visa, who has been unable to
come to terms with MLB after "a torturous two and a half
years" of negotiations. In talks with MLB, sources said
MasterCard "is offering assurances that MLB would become a
top priority" along with other properties, the NHL, NASCAR,
MLS, and the World Cup. Visa, with its "lavish stable of
properties that includes the Olympics, the NFL and racing's
Triple Crown," was "unable to offer similar guarantees."
Lefton writes that Visa's "on-again/off-again MLB deal
illustrates the leadership vacuum that plagued MLB's central
marketing organization from the departure" of former MLBP
President Rick White in January of '94. Visa negotiators
"were angered by MLB's inability to deliver firm contractual
language," and that their, "The World Series Won't Take
American Express" TV spot "wasn't delivered." Meanwhile,
sources said MLB negotiators were "frustrated by Visa's
reopening of terms, even after the deal was approved by the
card association's senior management" (BRANDWEEK, 10/13).
Looking to "peddle more gear," MLB is licensing a new
line of official hats, jerseys and jackets -- and allowing
changes in the traditional color lineup, according to Bounds
& Fatsis of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. The "exotic" colors
include baby blue, electric orange and lime green. Bounds &
Fatsis wrote that some of the logos and hues of the 30 MLB
teams "are mixed and matched with those of their arch-
rivals." For example, a Yankees hat comes in a Red Sox
"red," while an Indians jersey can be found in "bright
orange," the color of the Orioles. The effort "began" when
Spike Lee requested a Yankee cap in different colors and New
Era complied. On the sales front, Champs Sports "has almost
sold out" of Indians apparel in all colors at one Cleveland
store and Yankee shirts in lime green and baby blue are a
"favorite" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 10/13).
As Nike has the Lakers uniform designation this year,
Shaquille O'Neal "taped over the swoosh on his shooting
shirt, a practice he intends to continue all season,"
according to an AP report in the HARTFORD COURANT. O'Neal,
who endorsers Reebok: "I'm not going to sit here and fight
with the league. ... Nike doesn't pay me to wear the swoosh.
I'm loyal to my other companies" (HARTFORD COURANT, 10/12).