PEPSI BACK INTO HOUSE OF BLUES: ALSO, SUN WILL BE LEAD SPONSOR OF GOLF TOURNEY

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Pepsi-cola co. will be the exclusive sponsor of this summer's "House of Blues Smokin' Grooves" music tour, one of several new sponsorship deals House of Blues has inked for the latest extensions of its brand.

Pepsi was a secondary sponsor on last year's inaugural "Smokin' Grooves" tour but has secured the tour all to itself this year. Terms weren't disclosed, but Pepsi will support with radio advertising and grass-roots marketing in each of the 40 cities the tour will visit this year.

"It's a great opportunity to market to our young consumers in a meaningful way," said a Pepsi spokesman. "It fits in well with our `Generation Next' campaign, in which Pepsi is again staking a claim to the youth market."

Like last year, the 1997 "Smokin Grooves" tour features an array of top hip-hop acts, including Cypress Hill, the Roots, and Foxy Brown, as well as funk legends George Clinton & the P-Funk All Stars.

MORE CITIES ADDED TO TOUR

This year's model will kick off June 30 and will again visit small-to medium-size venues. The 1997 itinerary will feature six more cities than last year's tour-which grossed $6 million and was hailed as a bright spot in a dismal summer for the music touring business.

In the other deals, Sun Microsystems signed on as the lead sponsor on the "Blues Bros. Smokin' Tees Celebrity Golf Classic." The actual event was held last week, but will air in syndication in late July or early August. While Sun and associate sponsor Callaway Golf will have on-site signage and hospitality, the crux of the sponsorship is the TV buy, with each advertiser getting four spots.

Terms weren't disclosed.

"We are trying to find creative marketing tactics to achieve branding goals," said John Loiacono, Sun's director of branding and corporate communications.

Contributing sponsors of the event include Anheuser-Busch Cos., Pepsi and Bausch & Lomb's Ray-Ban sunglasses. The charities being supported are the John Belushi Scholarship Fund, the T.J. Martell Foundation, the Tiger Woods Foundation and the International House of Blues Foundation.

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