Cal Ripken will represent VA-based Crestar Financial
Corp. in "an aggressive marketing campaign," according to
Mary Beausoleil of the RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH. Crestar
Exec VP Craig Kelly said that Ripken was chosen "because of
his reputation for integrity and steadiness." Kelly: "When
you ask people how to describe him, they use words like
'dependable, honest, hard-working.' Things that are
important for banks." Ripken signed a two-year deal with
Crestar. Terms were not released (TIMES-DISPATCH, 10/29).
Spike Lee has "composed a series of irreverent
promotion spots" for the Lakers to be shown on Fox Sports
West, according to Ray Richmond in DAILY VARIETY. Lee, a
Knicks fan, said the spots won't change his team allegiance.
Lee: "I have no qualms about offering my services to other
teams in the NBA besides the Knicks. I'm even going to
shoot a couple of promos for the Miami Heat." Lee said that
he hopes the "tongue-in-cheek" spots help "humanize" the
players: "The public isn't happy when they see someone
batting .220 earning $10 million, and that's really unfair
to the athletes. If anything, people should be mad at the
owners. The athletes are just people, guys who like to fool
around like you and me" (DAILY VARIETY, 10/28).
NIKE NEWS: Wizards F Chris Webber, on his former
relationship with Nike: "I don't want to just downgrade
Nike, they are a great company. They did a lot for me. ...
Fila's a great company, they gave me a great shoe, and they
helped me do it my way" ("Up Close," ESPN, 10/28)....In
BRANDWEEK, Benezra & Stanley write that former Nike ad chief
Scott Bedbury thinks the company might be "courting
disaster" unless it deals with questions over conditions in
its manufacturing plants overseas (BRANDWEEK, 10/27 issue).
GENERAL: USA Baseball extended its exclusive license
with CA-based Fotoball Sports through the 2000 Olympic Games
in Sydney, Australia. The license will include souvenir
novelty baseballs and lapel pins (USA Baseball)....Merkley
Newman Harty, NY, part of Omnicom Group, will be the first
agency to develop national marketing and advertising
strategy for the Nat'l Thoroughbred Racing Assn. Billings
were "estimated" at $12-15M (N.Y. TIMES, 10/28)....Charles
Schwab & Co., Inc. named Steve Elkington to its "Team
Schwab" of pro athletes (Charles Schwab)....Gold Medal
Management extended its representation agreement with Dan
O'Brien through 2001 (Gold Medal Management)....Despite
resigning a month ago, former ASU Basketball Coach Bill
Frieder "will continue to star" in TV ads for Bank One with
Univ. of AZ Coach Lute Olson (AZ REPUBLIC, 10/29).
FL retailers say the "hottest" selling Marlins
merchandise items are World Series pins and the official
clubhouse T-shirt made by Starter Corp. which was worn by
team members during their Series victory celebration,
according to Schuster & Huriash of the Ft. Lauderdale SUN-
SENTINEL. Starter has also printed Spanish-language World
Series T-shirts "for the first time" which proclaim the
"Marlins Campiones Mundiales." Starter PR Manager Robin
Wexler said the company took pre-orders from Miami-area
stores, but didn't start printing shirts for the public
until after the Series concluded. But Schuster & Huriash
added that "other manufactures did mass produce merchandise
ahead of time," including NH-based Pro Player. The company
officials said it expect to make $6M "in profits on Marlins'
merchandise alone" (Ft. Lauderdale SUN-SENTINEL, 10/28).
Reebok Int'l is expected to award Lowe Howard-Spinks,
London, its soccer assignment following a pitch that
included Boston's Heater Advertising, according to sources
of ADWEEK's Sarah Jones. Reebok's newly appointed Dir of
Worldwide Advertising, and former Coca-Cola exec, John
Wardley said "his first goal is to determine the company's
immediate business needs." Wardley: "It might be that we
need to look at other resources. I only recently started a
relationship with Heater and don't want to send a signal
that we're not satisfied." While different shops "may end
up contributing to the creation of Reebok's new image,"
Wardley "stressed" the importance of "conveying a single,
consistent message." Wardley: "We've got a really strong
product story to tell, and I don't know that we've been
doing that as well as we could." Wardley added that part of
Reebok's strategy will be "highlighting its new technology,"
which will be included in future ads for basketball shoes,
Reignman II and The Answer, which is the first to use DMX
technology (ADWEEK, 10/27). AD AGE's Jeff Jensen adds that
Reebok will continue to "market aggressively to African-
American teens and the urban marketplace" in '98, but that
Wardley "would like to reach a broader audience as well."
Wardley "wouldn't say" if Reebok will increase or decrease
spending, "estimated" at $92.5M last year (AD AGE, 10/27).
Michael Jordan's relationship with both Nike and Oakley
is examined in SI's "Scorecard." Nike and Oakley are
currently involved in a legal dispute over the manufacturing
and patent of its sunglasses and Oakley will soon launch its
own footwear division to compete with Nike. While Jordan is
an endorser of Oakley sunglasses and a company board member,
he won't sit on its separate footwear division board.
Jordan's reps say the dual marketing agreements "do not
represent a conflict of interest." SI: "But Oakley
spokesperson Renee Law says the original board will have an
input on footwear issues. Add to this the fact that Nike
now includes sunglasses in its merchandise line, and it's
clear that somewhere along the way, Jordan might be sleeping
with the enemy" (SI, 11/3 issue). Oakley has released its
new eyewear line called Mars, and the company stated that
Jordan was "significantly involved in the design" (Oakley).