General Mills is launching a multi-brand sports-themed
promotion in "one of the biggest" MLB-linked packaged-goods
programs, according to Lefton & Thompson of BRANDWEEK. In
April, General Mills will launch a "limited-time" kids
cereal, Grand Slams, and promos around 12 kids cereals and
other brands hitting 50 million packages in all. The promo
uses MLB and MLBPA rights, along with "more than 25 of the
game's biggest stars." The Grand Slams cereal will launch
in mid-April and feature Frank Thomas, Mark McGwire, Mike
Piazza on the front panels, and other players, including
Larry Walker, Andres Galarraga and Tino Martinez on back
panels. Lefton & Thompson note that the combination of
player and team rights "is a rare showing of cooperation"
between MLB and the MLBPA. Grand Slams boxes "will tout an
offer for cereal bowl/batting helmets with MLB logos."
General Mills' three Wheaties brands will feature Piazza,
Ken Griffey and Cal Ripken (BRANDWEEK, 3/9 issue).
IRON MAN ENDORSEMENT: Nabisco has signed Cal Ripken to
support its involvement in its MLB's All-Star themed FSI.
Nabisco will use life-sized standees of Ripken in a
"massive" POP effort (Terry Lefton, BRANDWEEK, 3/9).
DEALS: WI-based Huffy Sports Co. has renewed its
licensing agreement with the NCAA, extending its product
licensing partnership through 2000. Huffy manufactures and
markets a variety of basketball system brands, including
Huffy Sports, Sure Shot and Hydra-RIB (Huffy Sports). Huffy
was profiled in the MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL. Hydra-RIB
backboards will be used in both the men's and women's Final
Fours this year (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 3/8)....Fuzzy
Zoeller is developing his own line of BBQ and steak sauces
with assistance from Mark's Feed Store, a small restaurant
chain in KY and IN (GOLFWEEK, 3/7 issue)....After an absence
of "more than five years," Honda is returning to F-1 racing.
Honda will own its own engine, chassis and management teams,
but has yet to decide the "structure of the racing team and
actual timing" of the return (FINANCIAL TIMES, 3/10).
NOTES: In N.Y., Constance Hays examines soft-drink
sponsorships in America's high schools, calling it the
"latest battleground in the cola wars" (N.Y. TIMES, 3/10).
...Chevrolet presented Tara Lipinski with a '98 Cavalier Z24
Convertible in honor of her winning the Olympic gold medal.
Chevrolet also announced a two-month arrangement to become
the official automotive sponsor of the Detroit Skating Club
(DSC), including signage and a Cavalier put on display at
the club. Lipinski is a member at the DSC (Chevrolet).
Lipinski will not defend her title later this month at the
world championships in Minneapolis due to illness (DETROIT
FREE PRESS, 3/10)....In a decision "that virtually insures
the continued flourishing of the multibillion-dollar 'gray
market' in unauthorized imports," the Supreme Court ruled
that U.S. manufacturers "cannot invoke the protection of
copyright law to block the domestic sale of products they
originally sold at a discount overseas." Once a product is
sold in an authorized manner, the copyright owner has "no
further control" over the product's fate (N.Y. TIMES, 3/10).
The latest figures from the SnowSports Industries
America trade show indicate that 50,000 pairs of snowshoes
were sold in stores in December '97, according to Penny
Parker of the DENVER POST. The 50,000 are "five times the
number" from December '96. For August-December '97, 75,678
pairs of snowshoes were sold. By comparison, ski equipment
sales dropped 18.8% from August through December '97, and
snowboard sales dropped 16.7% during the same period. Gart
Sports CEO Doug Morton: "Snowshoeing almost looks like the
snowboard business four years ago" (DENVER POST, 3/8).
LODGE MEETINGS: In Denver, Andrew Hood reported that
ski resorts throughout CO "are pushing" the state's "wide-
open vistas and perennial good weather" as the "perfect
venue for corporations to entertain key clients, hold
meetings and conduct conferences." Companies such as
Johnson & Johnson, CBS and NationsBank "regularly shuttle in
guests for a few days skiing" in addition to "talking
business." AmEx, which for the second straight year is
flying 45 clients and their families to Beaver Creek, CO, is
also flying in former Olympians Billy Kidd and Tamara
McKinney to ski with the guests (DENVER POST, 3/8).
Officials at Jordan Brand, Michael Jordan's Nike
division, say that the original Air Jordan sneakers which
Jordan wore on Sunday may be released again, according to
USA TODAY. Erin Patton, Dir of the Jordan Brand: "While the
future growth of the Jordan Brand will be fueled by new
product introductions, we will seek opportunities to
supplement our core product offerings with retro footwear
and apparel to satisfy the tremendous global appeal for
Michael's vintage products." Patton said that no timetable
is set for the re-release (USA TODAY, 3/10).
SILENT KNIGHT? In Chicago, Phil Rosenthal details a
scene in the upcoming film, "The Big One," by Michael Moore.
Moore sits down and asks Nike Chair Phil Knight about the
"12-year old workers" in Nike's overseas plants. Rosenthal
notes that Knight "corrects him pointedly" by replying,
"Fourteen." Rosenthal: "It's a proud moment for everyone"
(Phil Rosenthal, CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 3/10).
SportsChannel Florida (SCFL) will launch its "Baseball
Night in Florida" campaign, featuring 134 regular season
games of the Marlins (70) and Devil Rays (64). The season-
long promotional campaign in excess of $1M -- the biggest
financial commitment in SCFL history -- will be supported
through print, radio, TV and outdoor advertising and
affiliate marketing programs that will run throughout the
'98 MLB season. SCFL will integrate all of its resources,
including Internet, cross-channel promotion, affiliate
marketing and media advertising, to support the promo. The
"Baseball Night in Florida" theme is branded into all facets
of the campaign, including a new logo, which incorporates
the SCFL logo and the logos of both teams (SCFL).