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Volume 24 No. 156

Marketing and Sponsorship

New Balance is “introducing a 30th anniversary model of its 990 running shoe with an advertising campaign that emphasizes its production” in the U.S., according to Jane Levere of the N.Y. TIMES. The company's new advertising campaign, which was created in-house, “focuses on the company’s manufacture of men’s and women’s styles of the new 990 in its factories" in Skowhegan and Norridgewock, Maine; and in Lawrence, Mass. A 25-second TV spot and similar 60-second video “feature workers in the Norridgewock and Skowhegan factories” located in Maine. New Balance retailers will “begin running the TV spot, underwritten by New Balance and the retailers, on April 17; the spot and 60-second video will begin running on New Balance’s Web site and Facebook page the same day, and other videos will follow.” There is also “print advertising, including an ad underwritten by retailers and New Balance that will begin running locally April 15, and a similar trade ad by New Balance.” Copy on both ads says “Craftsmanship redefined;” both also feature “a logo, created for the campaign, that is a stylized American flag” in which the words “Made here” replace the stars. New Balance officials said the budget for the new campaign would be “just under seven figures” from April through July (N.Y. TIMES, 4/5).

GETTING READY FOR BOSTON MARATHON: In Boston, Gary Remal reports New Balance is unveiling a new marketing campaign "geared to take advantage of interest surrounding this year’s edition” of the Boston Marathon. New Balance Marketing Manager Josh Rowe said, “Our ‘Let’s Make Excellent Happen’ campaign is all about inspiring and motivating athletes to keep reaching for new goals. With our 2012 Boston Marathon effort, we’re not only commending the runner’s achievement of those goals, but also those ‘excellent’ moments that make Boston legendary” (BOSTON HERALD, 4/5).

In Jackson, Gary Pettus reported a “sponsorship alliance of four specialty medical practices has resuscitated the Mississippi PGA Tour event formerly known as the Viking Classic.” Mississippi-based NewSouth NeuroSpine, the Mississippi Sports Medicine & Orthopaedic Center in Jackson, the Jackson Heart Clinic and the GI Associates & Endoscopy Center in Jackson will serve as the sponsors for the event. True South Classic Exec Dir John Marovich said, "These four medical clinics will keep this tournament alive." GI Associates Dr. Paul Milner said that the tournament “will provide a platform to tout the state's ‘state-of-the-art’ health care environment as well.” Pettus noted the tournament had “tried to find financial backers since Greenwood-based Viking Range Corp. ended its title sponsorship after last year's event.” Trustmark National Bank “returns as the title sponsor of the event's annual pro-am tournament” (Jackson CLARION-LEDGER, 4/4).

CHANGING HANDS: Callaway Golf yesterday announced that Dick’s Sporting Goods has bought the company’s Top-Flite brand (Callaway). In California, Pat Maio noted Callaway earlier this year “completed the sale of the Ben Hogan brand, which the company acquired along with Top-Flite in 2003.” Both divestitures “followed a global restructuring at Callaway Golf that streamlined the organization and aimed to reduce costs and increase the focus placed on the company's core business units.” Gilford Securities analyst Casey Alexander “viewed Callaway's jettison of Top-Flite as a positive move.” Alexander: "Dick's has become sort of the trash heap for brand-ishment of golf brands that have gone on the rocks, so this is a fitting end to this chapter" (, 4/4).

I WANNA DANCE WITH SOMEBODY: GOLFWEEK’s Forecaddie notes 17-year-old LPGAer Lexi Thompson plans to attend the her prom next month at Coral Gables High School, and she “even has secured the assistance of her corporate sponsors to find her a date.” Details “remain sparse on how, exactly, Puma and Red Bull will help Thompson find her escort, but Thompson did note that the final decision is hers.” Thompson said of the contest, “I know the fans are going to have something to do with picking my date” (GOLFWEEK, 4/6 issue).

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