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Online Exclusive: Sports Marketing News


Team COO Says 'We Are Not Distancing Ourselves From Barry'

By Published on .

SAN FRANCISCO (AdAge.com) -- In the wake of a controversy stirred by an ad campaign that hailed the return of star slugger Barry Bonds even though his injuries prevent him from playing, the San Francisco Giants have announced they are "scaling back" the use of Mr. Bonds in their ads.
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Clinging to crutches
Last week, as Mr. Bonds, clinging to crutches following knee surgery, discussed his uncertain future, Giants' pre-season TV spots aired around the local news. In one spot, themed "The San Francisco Giants are back," Mr. Bonds was shown going around the bases in reverse, ending up at the plate from where he hit a home run. He was also featured in a similar fashion in radio ads.

Mr. Bonds has also recently been in the news as a result of allegations that he used steroids, reports of grand jury testimony involving his alleged former mistress and an Internal Revenue Service review of his finances.

Larry Baer, the team's executive vice president and chief operating officer, called him "the greatest player in baseball," and said: "We are not distancing ourselves from Barry. I want to be clear we are scaling back [the ads] just because he is injured."

Giants' marketing strategy
Mr. Baer said the Giants' marketing strategy this year, under a campaign tagged "Your San Francisco Giants," is to solidify the city of San Francisco as a great baseball town. A brand audit conducted after last season found a "tremendous connection between the Giants and the community as never before." The Giants moved to San Francisco from New York 47 years ago.

Mr. Baer said marketers affiliated with the Giants have expressed their support for the team and Mr. Bonds.

Mr. Bonds recently signed contracts with baseball card company Topps Co. but overall the demand for him as an advertising endorser has not been commensurate with his achievements on the field.

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