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Volume 24 No. 155
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Shaq-i-licious: O'Neal Inks Deal With Arizona Beverages For Image On Soda Cans

TNT analyst and former NBAer Shaquille O’Neal has agreed to a deal "with Arizona Beverage that will put 50 million Shaq Soda cans in circulation in June,” according to David Kaplan of FORTUNE magazine. O’Neal in the deal with Arizona Beverage will "get a small percentage of wholesale sales." His decision to partner with Arizona "was based chiefly on a desire to help the beverage maker launch a new category.” Two years into retirement, O'Neal makes “more now than he did most years throwing down slam dunks.” O'Neal from early on in his NBA career “was an object of Madison Avenue's desire.” But that he is “more of a marketing phenomenon today than he was in his NBA prime is partly due to luck: He's instantly recognizable.” In addition “to peddling Gold Bond, Icy Hot, and manly jewelry at Zales," Shaq also "has a comic book in development, and he's a Silicon Valley investor.” Still, he “works hard at it.” Shaq & Co. “assembles his two dozen corporate partners" to compare notes, "share ideas, and invent Shaq suffixes” (FORTUNE, 5/20 issue).

KEEPING IT REAL? AUTOMOTIVE NEWS' Vince Ford Jr. noted TNT's Charles Barkley on Monday night's episode of "Inside The NBA" took a shot at O'Neal "about his LaCrosse ads by saying O'Neal was rubbed down with Gold Bond Lotion to fit in." That led to the following exchange:

    Barkley: "Had to grease your body to get in that Buick."
    O'Neal: "It takes me two seconds to get in my Buick."
    Barkley: "Kenny (Smith) told me only you and one of your kids can fit. You have to go to the amusement park with just one kid at a time."
    O'Neal: "It's probably true."

Buick Communications Group Manager Nick Richards yesterday confirmed that O’Neal “does indeed drive a Buick,” and that O'Neal's black ‘13 Buick LaCrosse -- his “first -- was delivered to him earlier this month.” Richards said, "Ever since he started doing those spots, he and Charles have been going back and forth on the show." He added that the ads “have performed well.” Richards: "From an advertising standpoint, his spots have copy tested better than anything else we've done" (, 5/14).