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Volume 24 No. 160

Sponsorships Advertising Marketing

          Jeff Gordon won his second NASCAR Winston Cup
     championship Sunday, finishing 17th at Sunday's season-
     ending NAPA 500 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway (AMS).  With
     the $1.5M championship bonus from series sponsor R.J.
     Reynolds, Gordon became the first race-car driver to win $5M
     in a season (USA TODAY, 11/17).  In K.C., Shannon Rose
     profiled Gordon, and wrote that "whether fans like it or
     not, Gordon has another talent besides driving.  He can
     convert the average person into a race fan."  Rose: "Like it
     or not, Gordon is the future of NASCAR.  And both are only
     going to get bigger and bigger" (K.C. STAR, 11/16). 
          GET OUT ON THE HIGHWAY: In Atlanta, Al Levine wrote
     that "about" 160,000 were expected this past weekend at the
     newly renovated AMS.  The complex accommodated "about"
     20,000 corporate sponsor guests, including title sponsor
     NAPA who built a 60,000-square foot village for its 3,500
     guests (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 11/15).  Also in Atlanta,
     Steve Hummer wrote on NASCAR's fan following: "Pick an
     adjective.  Best.  Most blindly loyal.  Most put out.  Just
     flat craziest.  The NASCAR Winston Cup fan can answer to
     them all."  More Hummer: "As the sport continues to gain
     altitude, it is only going to become more difficult to serve
     in racing's ranks.  It's choking on its own popularity,
     leaving the corporate interests and the grassroots fans to
     battle for its soul" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 11/16).
          NAPA'S AUTO RACE: NAPA has signed on to sponsor the
     November Winston Cup race at AMS for five more years (Ben
     Blake, INDIANAPOLIS STAR-NEWS, 11/16).
          BRING ALONG DUPER? Dan Marino has signed an agreement
     with NASCAR's Bill Elliott to jointly own the second car on
     the Elliott team for the '98 NASCAR Winston Cup season.  The
     Elliott-Marino Motorsports entry will make its debut at the
     Daytona Int'l Speedway on February 15.  Jerry Nadeau will be
     the driver, while TX-based FirstPlus Financial, Inc., a
     consumer finance company, will be the primary sponsor of the
     #13 Ford Taurus (FirstPlus Financial).

          One day after Nike execs visited UNC-Chapel Hill (UNC)
     to "counter accusations of sweatshoplike working conditions
     in Southeast Asia, the company agreed Friday to send UNC
     students to the factories to see for themselves," according
     to Jane Stancil of the Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER.  In a
     meeting Thursday, UNC Chancellor Michael Hooker "suggested"
     that Nike pay the expenses of a four-member contingent: the
     Chair of the faculty council and three students, including a
     member of the campus paper.  Nike Dir of College Sports
     Marketing Kit Morris: "Conceptually, Nike has agreed to the
     idea.  We welcome the opportunity to educate our university
     partners on this issue" (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 11/16).
          THE WHITE STUFF: Nike-endorser Reggie White has "joined
     the ranks" of Nike critics, "blasting the company's labor
     practices," according to Friday's Portland OREGONIAN. 
     White: "The reason they have these sweatshops is for cheap
     labor.  They'd rather hire the cheap labor than hire the kid
     in the neighborhood who is buying their shoes.  There are
     people who need jobs here."  Nike spokesperson Antonio
     Tijerino said that White should "know that we employ 500,000
     people around the world.  There are poor people everywhere." 
     White has a deal with Nike "estimated" at $200,000-$250,000
     a year and said he has no plans to end his relationship with
     the company.  White: "Nike has treated me well.  But I'm not
     going to lie to you.  I've been disappointed with them"
     (Portland OREGONIAN/AP, 11/15). 
          MORE NICKS AT NIKE: In S.F., Tim Keown wrote that
     Nike's "hypocrisy knows no bounds."  Keown: "It aligns
     itself with just causes -- the courage of Jackie Robinson,
     racism in country clubs, the plight of inner-city kids --
     then indignantly wonders why anybody gives a damn about the
     respiratory problems of a few thousand young women in
     Vietnam" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 11/14).  In an op-ed in today's
     PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, Fredrick McKissack writes under the
     headline, "Nike Workers Get No Assist From Jordan." 
     McKissack notes Jordan's recent statements on Nike during an
     interview on ABC's "PrimeTime Live."  McKissack: "Once
     again, Michael Jordan had a chance to speak out about
     working conditions in Nike plants in Southeast Asia.  Once
     again, he failed to do that" (PHILA. DAILY NEWS, 11/17). 

          MAIL ORDERS: In the CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR, Jeffrey
     Shaffer noted the prevalence of NFL mail-order catalogs such
     as The Ultimate Football Shop and From the Sidelines: "These
     up-and-coming mail-order companies want to knock the front-
     line veterans flat on the turf.  They offer a simple
     solution to may wardrobe needs: Surrender to the glamour and
     expertise of the [NFL]. ... Their strategy is to combine
     style with team spirit" (CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR, 11/14).
          NOTES: A TV spot for Nike's new Penny Hardaway shoe,
     the Air Penny ($150), is scheduled to debut Thanksgiving Day
     (USA TODAY, 11/17)....In Sunday's N.Y. TIMES, Alex Kuczynski
     examined brand marketing in the 90's, which included Michael
     Jordan's Cologne and Nike brand.  Starbucks Senior VP Scott
     Bedbury: "The most powerful brands have human qualities. 
     And this is why there is a buzz these days about people
     being seen as brands" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/16).
          DEALS: Volvo Trucks North America did "extensive
     research" before deciding to run a 30-second spot during the
     upcoming Super Bowl at a cost of $1.2M.  Volvo Trucks NA
     President Marc Gustafson: "The research we've done shows
     that drivers love football, and this [is] the event they
     appreciate the most" (Greensboro NEWS & RECORD, 11/16)....
     The Blackhawks' Chris Chelios, Tony Amonte and Gary Suter
     filmed a TV spot for Wendy's in N.Y. on Friday that will tie
     in with the Winter Olympics (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 11/15).