Talk About Product Placement...

Nothing warms a marketer's heart like a big-time--and free--celebrity endorsement. Say, from the Pope, who slipped on a pair of K-Swiss tennis shoes (white, with gold laces) during his August trip to Denver.

So imagine the excitement at Pilot Pen on Sept. 10, when TV cameras zoomed in for a close-up of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin signing the document recognizing the Palestine Liberation Organization--with a Pilot Precise rolling ball. Handed such a "marvelous, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," Pilot President Ronald Shaw ran with it. Within 10 days, nationwide newspaper ads trumpeted: "There's a line between war and peace. This one was written with a Pilot." What did PLO Chairman Yassir Arafat use? "We got photos, blew them up, and there was absolutely no way we could figure it out," Shaw says. But he swears it wasn't a Paper Mate.

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