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NIKE AND FOOT LOCKER RUN WITH DAN O'BRIEN, MINUS DAVE

By Published on .

Dan O'Brien is back. And Nike and Foot Locker have him.

Two years ago, most everyone knew Mr. O'Brien's first name-he was half of Reebok International's "Dan & Dave" marketing effort tied to the Summer Olympics.

Reebok's $20 million-plus ad campaign from Chiat/Day, Venice, Calif., trumpeted a rivalry between the two U.S. decathlon competitors. The score, the ads promised, would be settled at the Summer Games.

But a funny thing happened on the way to Barcelona. Dan failed to make the U.S. Olympic team. Dave Johnson went on to win a bronze medal, but his achievement seemed anticlimatic given the Reebok hype.

Reebok and Chiat and reworked the campaign and walked away unscathed. But Mr. O'Brien wasn't re-signed after his contract expired in 1993, and he wasn't picked up by Nike and Foot Locker until this year, after he set a world record in the decathlon.

Both companies plan to use him in marketing efforts leading up to the 1996 Summer Olympics. Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore., handles Nike, while Bates Manhattan is Foot Locker's agency.

"It was difficult to go on after not making the Olympics" in 1992, Mr. O'Brien said. "But it made me a tougher competitor and gave my life more direction."

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