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Volume 24 No. 112

Sponsorships Advertising Marketing

          Castrol North America announced that Spurs C David
     Robinson will be featured in its "Drive Hard to the NBA
     Finals" sweepstakes, which offers Grand Prize winners an
     all-expense paid trip for two to one game in the '98 or '99
     NBA Finals.  This will mark the first time that Castrol, an
     NBA sponsor since '93, will feature an NBA player in one of
     its promotions and Robinson will be featured on point-of-
     sale materials during the promos run (Castrol).  
          ET TU, SHAQ FU? Shaquille O'Neal appears in a PSA this
     weekend during Sunday's Lakers-Knicks telecast on NBC.  The
     PSA, produced by NBA Entertainment, highlights the Reading
     Is Fundamental campaign.  The spot shows O'Neal reading a
     mystery novel, only to find that his dog, "Brick," has torn
     out the last page (Neal Travis, N.Y. POST, 2/27).

          ESPN announced that Classic Sports Network's ad sales
     unit will be combined with ESPN's advertising sales
     department.  Classic Sports was acquired by ESPN in October. 
     ESPN's Advertising Sales Department now markets ESPN brands
     including ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNEWS, ESPN SportsZone, ESPN Int'l
     and Classic Sports Network (ESPN).  

          Leo Burnett Co. "dropped out of a competition" to
     handle the account for the PGA Tour's World Golf
     Championships, according to George Lazarus of the CHICAGO
     TRIBUNE.  Burnett cites a "conflict with another" PGA Tour
     group as its reason (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 2/27).
          MARKET-PING: In Toronto, Lorne Rubenstein examines the
     marketing efforts of AZ-based Karsten Manufacturing, which
     manufactures Ping equipment.  Karsten has hired the VA-based
     Martin agency for advertising and promotion, and recently
     signed Bernhard Langer and Lee Westwood.  Rubenstein: "And
     don't be surprised if the company soon announces an
     endorsement deal with Casey Martin."  Karsten President &
     CEO John Solheim: "We didn't advertise at all in the 1980s
     but are doing that now.  We are not where we want to be, but
     we intend to grow and to keep growing" (GLOBE & MAIL, 2/27).

          Serena Williams, who recently signed with Puma, said
     she will have "input" into what she will wear.  Williams: "I
     told them I like the full dresses a little more than the
     skirts, so, it is just -- right now we are working on a lot
     of different designs so we are trying to get something
     together."  Williams said the Puma deal will involve "sports
     and entertainment and we just want to bring something
     different to the game of tennis" (THE DAILY).
          OTHER NOTES: In Miami, Elaine Walker profiled New
     Balance and wrote, "While other athletic shoe manufacturers
     are struggling with stagnating sales, New Balance is riding
     a wave of popularity that has sent sales climbing at a
     double-digit pace" (MIAMI HERALD, 2/26)....Nike "is working"
     to move the March 25 launch of the new Air Jordans from a
     school day to a weekend after complaints from "educators
     nationwide."  The likely new launch date is Saturday, March
     Boehlert examines the corporate use of contemporary music in
     TV advertising, noting Nike's use of the Verve's "Bitter
     Sweet Symphony."  Boehlert: "Why the mad rush from Madison
     Avenue?  Clients, eager for any sort of marketing edge, want
     the authenticity and star association that hit songs
     deliver."  Levi's Senior Ad Manager Joe Townsend: "If we can
     show kids we're cool, we have a step up."  Boehlert writes
     that the "going rate" for licensing of a "top pop song" is
     $200,000 to $400,000 (ROLLING STONE, 3/19 issue).