Sports marketing & entertainment group Octagon
announced it will merge two of its companies, Washington,
DC-based Advantage Int'l and London-based The API Group.
Octagon, which bought Advantage and 60% of API in May '97,
acquired the remaining 40% of API to facilitate the merger
of the two companies. The new company, which will have over
500 staff members in 21 offices covering five continents,
will be led by Advantage co-Founder & Chair Lee Fentress.
API Chair Alan Pascoe will leave the company after 15 years.
It was also announced that API CEO Matthew Wheeler will take
a Senior Management role with Octagon in London (Octagon).
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway named Canon U.S.A. the
official camera of the Indy 500 and the Pep Boys IRL. Canon
photo products in 35mm, APS and digital still formats were
designated with official status (IMS)....In N.Y., Peter
Vecsey reports that Jazz Owner Larry Miller "does not
appreciate Greg Ostertag and Jacque Vaughn doing commercials
for a rival car dealership in Salt Lake City." Miller:
"It's a flat-out slap in the face. I feel like grabbing
these guys by a combination of their collars and necks and
slapping them a time or two and asking them to wake up,
think about what's going on here" (N.Y. POST, 5/19)....AD
AGE's James Brady reports that former Topps Dir of PR Marty
Appel has formed his own NY-based PR company, "with Topps
already on board as a charter client" (AD AGE, 5/18 issue).
...Swiss sports-watch maker Tag Heuer will launch a $45M
world-wide ad campaign this June featuring athletes such as
Grant Hill and Boris Becker (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 5/19).
...In IN, Nelson Price reports that since the Colts traded
fan-favorite QB Jim Harbaugh, demand for his merchandise has
declined. IN-based Logo-7 said sales of Harbaugh/Colts
merchandise dropped to $157,000 in '97, down from the
$272,000 in sales in '96. Logo-7 VP/Marketing Eddie White:
"The movement of popular players between cities has become a
pitfall of our business. The days of a guy sticking with
one team for his entire career are gone, expect for a few
dinosaurs" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR-NEWS, 5/19).
The International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF)
has passed a bylaw making it illegal for athletes to attempt
to "sneak a competing sponsor's ads into track-and-field
meets by getting their bodies tattooed with corporate
logos," according to James Christie of the Toronto GLOBE &
MAIL. Cecil Smith, a Canadian delegate to the IAAF and Exec
Dir of the Ontario Track and Field Association, said the
organization is concerned about "athletes decorating
themselves with a Nike Swoosh or a Tiger logo. It's the
latest craze." Smith said, however, that the new bylaw
doesn't specifically cover what an athlete does with their
hairstyle (James Christie, Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 5/19).
The PGA Tour's latest spot in its "These Guys Are Good"
campaign, featuring Tour player Phil Mickelson and Spurs C
David Robinson, aired during last night's Game Two of the
Lakers-Jazz Western Conference final. The spot, created by
TX-based GSD&M, has been running on TNT during its NBA
Playoff coverage. The ad opens with the Spurs coming out of
a timeout trailing the Celtics by a point with 0.7 seconds
on the clock. As the Spurs huddle breaks, Mickelson and his
caddy emerge with the team. A TV announcer's voice over:
"This is an impossible situation for the Spurs. Absolutely
no time left on the clock. Is that Phil Mickelson?" A
second announcer: "It makes perfect sense to me, Tom, he's
the king of the lob wedge. This is his shot." The spot
then shows a referee dropping a golf ball on the baseline,
and Mickelson addresses it. Announcer voice-over: "A very
tight lie, even for Phil." Mickelson swings, taking a large
divot, and chunks of the floor fly into the air. The camera
then follows the ball as it flies the length of the court.
Announcer: "It's up! A long full-court pass! Looks like an
alley-oop for Robinson!" Robinson runs the baseline, jumps,
catches the golf ball, and dunks it before the buzzer.
Announcer: "What a perfect pass!" Mickelson and Robinson
then point at each other, acknowledging the play. Robinson:
"Boy, these guys are good!" The screen fades to the PGA
Tour logo and the "These Guys Are Good" slogan (THE DAILY).
Kaleidoscope Sports & Entertainment, a subsidiary of
The Interpublic Group of Companies, has formed ROI Research,
a new unit focused on quantifying the value of sports and
entertainment sponsorships through data analysis. Based in
New York, ROI will specialize in sponsorship and consumer
research, with an emphasis on the measurement of sponsorship
awareness, brand image, media exposure and return-on-
investment. The agency will also provide data on TV
exposure, publicity, promotions, on-site exposure, revenues
and costs associated with sponsorship. Tracy Shoenadel, a
Founder of the Fox Sports/TMG Poll, has been named Managing
Dir of ROI Research. In addition, the company named Joe
Doyle as ROI Dir of Research and Larry DeBaris as its Senior
Research Manager (Kaleidoscope Sports & Entertainment).
Nike Chair Phil Knight is listed among the "Winners" of
TIME's "Notebook" for announcing the company's new labor
policy initiatives overseas: "Nike CEO will end child labor
and improve factories abroad. Go, Phil -- now hike that
minimum wage!" (TIME, 5/25 issue). In Dallas, Kevin
Blackistone writes on Nike's planned reforms and states that
wearing Nike products "was becoming increasingly
uncomfortable, at least for me. The only reason I hadn't
yet turned a shoulder to Nike, as I once did consumer
companies that did business with apartheid South Africa, was
because Nike did so many good things in the world of sports.
It championed women's athletics. It opened its boardroom to
minorities. It stood up for athletes it thought had been
wronged." Blackistone adds that the only issue that Knight
failed to address in his announcement was "pay, which he
should have. But, this was a start. ... When the results
come in, hopefully I'll feel better" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS,
5/19). A SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS editorial stated that "as
the first step to win back consumers' respect, Nike needs to
show that it can take responsibility for how its products
are made. If it can monitor the quality of athletic shoes
made in Indonesia and Vietnam, it should be able to monitor
the quality of the air in the factory" (MERCURY NEWS, 5/18).
AIR QUALITY: Michael Jordan, who earlier this year
announced offseason plans to visit Nike's Asian plants, on
the planned reforms: "I'm pretty sure people are going to
say that there was some pressure put upon (Knight) to make
those changes. But if there's a need, then he has to. I
don't think that's going to alter my trip at all. ... I've
still got to go for myself" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 5/19).
Procter & Gamble has signed a sponsorship of the
Women's World Cup soccer tournament for its Millstone brand
of grocery store-vended coffee beans, according to Terry
Lefton of BRANDWEEK. P&G will put WWC '99 marks on five
million bags of Millstone next year and support the deal
with radio in the seven markets where games will be held:
San Jose, Washington, DC, Boston, Chicago, L.A., N.Y., and
Portland, OR. In its "first major promotional tie-in,"
Millstone is expected to get "substantial support to
establish a permanent place on grocer shelves, meaning the
Women's World Cup link could be the first of a flurry of
marketing activities" (Terry Lefton, BRANDWEEK, 5/18 issue).