Reebok's Dark Night Of The Sole

Remember Dan and Dave? They were the two U.S. decathletes--and Reebok sneaker endorsers--who were supposed to contend at the 1992 Olympic Games for the title of world's greatest athlete. Reebok sank $25 million into its Dan and Dave ad campaign, only to see Dan (or was it Dave?) fail even to make the Olympic team. Dave (or was it Dan?) got to Barcelona, but only managed a bronze medal. The term "misplaced confidence" springs to mind.

Reebok isn't alone. Any sneaker company that uses athletes as endorsers--that means you, Nike, and you, too, Converse--is probably wasting its money. The Athletic Footwear Assn. reports that most consumers' buying decisions aren't swayed by athletes' endorsements. Instead, people check out what their friends are wearing. So remember, shoe companies: Jocks will come and go, but peer pressure will never let you down.

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