Reebok enlists Nordstrom, videogames for Olympics

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Cross-promos with retailer, U.S. Gold supplement $30 mil in ads

Reebok International's Olympic marketing program includes promotions aimed at reaching boys through the videogames they play and women and teen girls through the stores where they shop.

Reebok, scheduled to launch the first spot in its $30 million Olympic ad campaign last weekend, will follow up with a June cross-promotion with U.S. Gold, holder of licensing rights to all Olympic-related electronic entertainment products.

Also next month, Reebok will team with Nordstrom for in-store promotions tied to the women's U.S. gymnastics team, which Reebok sponsors.

REBATES ON VIDEOGAMES

The cross-promotion with U.S. Gold includes a $10 rebate for the Olympic Summer Games and Olympic Soccer videogames that hit retail in late June. The rebates will be tucked into boxes of several new Reebok shoes, also hitting in June: the Prophet basketball shoe; Ravage baseball shoe; and Sidewinder line of soccer cleats.

Reebok gets logo placement on game packaging and cartridges and a page ad inside each game's instruction manual.

The two companies are talking about placing kiosks in Reebok's athlete hospitality areas in Atlanta during the Summer Games.

Reebok and U.S. Gold will support each other with in-store advertising. But U.S. Gold's TV support for Olympic Summer Games--a spot from Ciociola & Co., New York, that will break on ESPN and ESPN2 next month--won't tout Reebok, as per Atlanta Centennial Olympic Properties' licensee marketing restrictions.

CROSS-PROMOS NIXED

U.S. Gold was shopping cross-promotion deals to Olympic sponsors Coca-Cola Co., Sara Lee Corp.'s Hanes brand and Sports Illustrated, even offering logo placement in the videogames themselves. U.S. Gold also had a deal with Coca-Cola to be the title sponsor of its Olympic Soccer game, before ACOP vetoed such integration, since activity of this sort isn't allowed in the real Olympic Games.

U.S. Gold is making the games for Sony PlayStation, Sega Saturn, PC and CD-ROM platforms. It has licensed THQ to make the games for Super Nintendo, Super GameBoy and Sega Genesis platforms.

In August, U.S. Gold and THQ will also market Dream Team, licensed by USA Basketball, which will feature Reebok logos on packaging.

AN INFLUENTIAL CONSUMER

"Our research shows that playing videogames is one of the top two recreational activities of kids 8 to 15, which is an incredibly important and influential consumer base in our industry," said Gary Marmer, Reebok's director of brand marketing, adding that his company is looking to tap the videogame vein further and is discussing promotions with cable TV's Sega Channel.

Reebok archrival Nike has its own videogame partner this summer, executing a $2 million promotion with Nintendo Corp. of America's June release of Ken Griffey Jr.'s Winning Run for its 16-bit SuperNES platform.

An offer of "Griffey for President" merchandise, inspired by the Nike ad plot line that has the baseball star running for president, will be tucked inside game packs.

GYMNASTS AT NORDSTROM

With Nordstrom, Reebok will present a mall tour of the U.S. women's gymnastics team that will visit 10 store locations next month. The retailer is planning in-store displays showcasing Reebok footwear and apparel, including the Vault shoe, which U.S. gymnasts will wear during medal ceremonies. Reebok will support with hang-tags and an ad in June's Nickelodeon.

Reebok's Olympic ad campaign via Chicago agency Leo Burnett USA, chronicling NFL star Emmitt Smith's quest to make football an Olympic sport, will technically promote Reebok's new baseball/football cleat/cross-trainer, the Hostile. That's the shoe Mr. Smith wears in ads, though the campaign is more brand-focused.

Copyright May 1996 Crain Communications Inc.

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