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Volume 24 No. 159

Sponsorships Advertising Marketing

          Kellogg USA will become title sponsor of Soccer In The
     Streets, a GA-based, non-profit dedicated to bringing soccer
     to the inner city.  The Kellogg's Soccer In The Street
     program will be conducted in 13 cities (Kellogg's).
          MLS: MLS's new ad campaign from Dallas-based Dieste &
     Partners, "Lessons in Passion," was examined by Jerry
     Langdon in USA TODAY.  He called the spots "pretty good. 
     Particularly impressive is the 'Dancing' promo, set to Mambo
     music, with players making great faking moves and dribbling
     past defenders."  There will be eight spots, half of which
     have been completed.  The other half will be done by April
     (USA TODAY, 3/23)....BRANDWEEK's Terry Lefton reports that
     MLS is holding All-Star balloting at the 2,200 Kmart stores
     nationwide in a promo that also gets the league's licensed
     apparel "into mass retail for the first time."  All-Star
     voting runs May 3-June 28 with ballots available in Kmart's
     Sports Center licensed apparel areas.  Lefton adds that
     Kmart "gets the exclusive on MLS licensed apparel at mass
     merch for the rest of the year, while MLS gains access to
     one of the most desirable retail venues" (BRANDWEEK, 3/23).

          BRANDWEEK NOTES: Terry Lefton reports that Service
     Merchandise will be the presenting sponsor for MLB's Home
     Run Derby during the All-Star Break, airing July 6 on ESPN. 
     Service Merchandise's "foray into sports" is being run by
     new marketing exec Chuck Kremers, who led True Value into
     MLB, NASCAR and NFL sponsorships....Dorothy Hamill, Nancy
     Kerrigan and Nicole Bobek will appear in a print campaign
     for Aetna/U.S. Healthcare breaking this spring.  It will
     promote heart health and warn about the high incidence of
     heart problems among women....While Bell Atlantic recently
     inked a sponsorship pact with the Atlantic 10 Conference,
     the company could not come to terms on a proposal to rename
     it the Bell Atlantic 10.  The deal "would have cost two to
     three times the mid-six-figure deal" that was consummated,
     and the A-10 would have "become the first conference to sell
     its name"....Hershey has signed a two-year sponsorship deal
     with Strike Ten that gets it sponsorship of the National
     Family Bowling Tournament, access to the association's 6,000
     bowling centers and promotional rights (BRANDWEEK, 3/23).  
          NOTES: The WNBA's inaugural season "won gold" in the
     sports and entertainment category at the American Marketing
     Association's Edison Awards (AD AGE, 3/23 issue)....UT men's
     basketball coach Rick Majerus signed an exclusive rep
     agreement with IL-based Intersport Management for contract
     negotiations, endorsements and appearances (Intersport).
     ...In N.Y., Richard Wilner notes a source who said that
     Cablevision, which bought electronics chain Nobody Beats the
     Wiz, will renovate the stores and decorate the interiors
     with "classic" MSG sports photos (N.Y. POST, 3/24).

          Nike "will slash its global marketing budget" by $100M
     for the FY starting June 1, "and over the next six months
     will re-evaluate its strategies," according to Jeff Jensen
     of AD AGE.  Nike's '97 marketing budget was an estimated
     $891M.  Nike Chair Phil Knight "holds marketing partly to
     blame for the company's recent woes" and will put its new "I
     can" campaign from Wieden & Kennedy up for "reassessment." 
     Knight: "Our problem has not been too much marketing, but
     too much ineffective marketing" (AD AGE, 3/23 issue). 
          FOOT SOLDIERS: In N.Y., Jennifer Steinhauer examines
     whether a slowdown of Nike sales will impact Woolworth's
     Foot Locker stores.  Analysts estimate that Woolworth
     controls about 16% of the U.S. athletic footwear market, and
     about 40% of the market for athletic shoes over $40.  At
     Foot Locker stores, investors estimate that footwear makes
     up roughly 75% of the merchandise, with Nike representing
     30-50% of that category (N.Y. TIMES, 3/24).

          Nike's earnings reductions and recent layoffs are
     examined in this week's news magazines.  In TIME, Bill 
     Saporito writes under the header, "Can Nike Get Unstuck?" 
     Saporito: "Nike is a multibillion-dollar monster finding its
     size awkward."  Nike Chair Phil Knight's "challenge is to
     re-create the essence of the outfit he first operated out of
     the trunk of his car."  Nike "is reassessing everything,
     from the way it sells to retailers to the number of times
     the famous swoosh appears on products and in advertising. 
     It will try to act smaller by developing categories such as
     golf, soccer, and women's as separate business units." 
     Knight: "Basically, our culture, and our style, is to be a
     rebel, and we sort of enjoy doing that.  Now that we've
     reached a certain size, there's a fine line between being a
     rebel and being a bully, and yeah, we have to walk that
     line."  Saporito writes that despite "the pounding" it has
     taken, "Nike is still the force in athletics" (TIME, 3/30).
          REORGANIZATION: Nike will undergo "a holistic
     reorganization as it struggles with the very size of the
     company and what it stands for."  Knight: "What we are today
     might by O.K. for a $3 billion company.  It's not O.K. at
     9."  In reviewing its corporate image, Nike execs "reached
     an interesting conclusion: too many swooshes."  Nike VP Mark
     Parker: "There has been a little bit of an internal backlash
     about just the number of swooshes that are out there." 
     Saporito adds that Nike will "try to be more accessible" to
     consumers by continuing to develop subbrands, such as a golf
     division built around Tiger Woods and another line, Nike
     Classic Golf, that will target the country-club set. 
     Saporito concludes that Knight "has written this year off,"
     but by '99 he "expects to have new product, a new management
     structure and better press" (TIME, 3/30 issue).       
          LOWERED COOL QUOTIENT? NEWSWEEK's Jolie Solomon writes
     that more than its negative press, "Nike's bigger problem is
     a 1990s marketing conundrum: can you be big and cool?"  When 
     Teenage Research Unlimited did its latest survey, 40% of
     kids named Nike as one of the "coolest" brands, down from
     52% six months ago.  But Solomon adds that Nike's "ace in
     the hole is Knight himself," who she describes as
     "charismatic and down to earth" (NEWSWEEK, 3/30 issue).  In
     a sidebar, NEWSWEEK's Joshua Hammer reviews Michael Moore's
     new documentary, "The Big One."  Knight "is the only CEO
     with the guts to go on camera, but he pays the price: he
     sheepishly admits he's never visited his company's Third
     World factories" (NEWSWEEK, 3/30 issue).
          ATHLETE'S FOOT? In U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT, William
     Holstein reports that Knight "remains deeply involved with
     Nike's athletes, which is one reason it will be hard for the
     company to cut back on its spending for sports events and
     sponsorships."  But recently departed execs say that
     Knight's "preoccupation with his athletes, at the expense of
     shareholders and employees, is a serious problem."  Former
     Nike CFO Robert Falcone said he urged Knight "to cut back on
     promotion and marketing costs to help offset declining
     sales.  Instead, Knight decided to shuffle management to
     appease investors."  Falcone: "All they had to do was not
     sign one soccer contract, and they could have saved hundreds
     of jobs" (U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT, 3/30 issue).