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Pearl Izumi In Runner's World: Good Ad Or Bad?

Monday, 16 Jul 2007 | 12:29 PM ET

I have been reading Runner’s Worldfor the last 10 years or so and I have never stopped at an ad like I did when I saw this Pearl Izumi ad in their August issue. What made me stop? I thought it was so outrageous. So over the top. I read the thing four or five times and wasn’t quite sure what the point was. Was I more likely to buy Pearl Izumis from reading the ad? Were these Pearl Izumis going to help me find dead bodies? Would they give me a free pair if I found one?

Then it clicked. I realized I had read this ad over and over again--something that I’ve never done. That’s exactly what a niche brand, owned by Nautilus, wants you to do. If you’re somehow offended, you’re probably not buying Pearl Izumis anyway. If you did what I did, you’re a lot more aware of the brand than you were when you opened the magazine.

In my researching for this story, I discovered that it was just the month before, that a Pearl Izumi ad was getting plenty of buzz. This one, seen below, encourages people to be runners, not joggers. You can see how it could really make people angry. But again, drawing emotion out of readers is better than what 99.9 percent of the ads are doing these days.

Please tune into CNBC’s “On The Money” tonight at 7 p.m. ET to see our story on what I considered to be one of the most controversial ads since 2000, when Nike pulled this video of Olympian Suzy Favor Hamilton outrunning a chainsaw attack.

The Beckham Bump?
Last week, was a pretty good week for Herbalife , the nutritional company whose logo is on the new Los Angeles Galaxy jerseys. The stock, which went public in Dec. 2004, hit an all-time high today, thanks to a more than 6 percent boost since last Monday.

There was news last week that China's Ministry of Commerce approved a license to allow the to operate conduct business in parts of the country. But some of the buzz might have to do with Herbalife’s sponsorship of the Galaxy jerseys, which got massive play with the David Beckham announcement on Friday.

The Galaxy have reportedly taken orders for more than 250,000 Beckham jerseys (a number I don’t believe, by the way) with the Herbalife logo slapped on it. Sports Business Daily had Herbalife paying $4 million to $5 million a year for the sponsorship.

What Is T-Mobile Doing?
I’m not watching the Tour De France this year in protest of all the drug scandals, but I do check out the sponsors of who is out in front. T-Mobile as usual has a big presence. Linus Gerdemann, who is currently in second place, is sponsored by the telecom brand. My question is, what is T-Mobile still doing in this sport? Haven’t they had enough scandal? Their biggest names Bjarne Riis and Jan Ullrich, winners of the 1996 and 1997 Tours, have been connected to performance-enhancing drugs. And although T-Mobile withdrew their $1.3 million sponsorship of a German TV station’s coverage of the event, they didn’t think it was bad enough that they withdraw from the sport altogether. T-Mobile said they’d use some of the money to invest in more stringent drug testing. Doesn’t that signal that it’s time to get out?

Questions? Comments? SportsBiz@cnbc.com

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