Catalog takes swing at pricing policies from Easton and H&B

The new pricing policies for top-end bats implemented by Easton Sports and Hillerich and Bradsby have given team dealers who have struggled to maintain profit margins breathing space but have attracted protests from catalog houses. The policies prohibit dealers from discounting Easton’s Redline C-Core and Hillerich and Bradley’s Air Attack bats more than 10% of their normal retail prices.

The bat pricing policies initiated by Easton and Hillerich & Bradsby appear to be an early success, but are not without their detractors.

Riverside, CA-based catalog Western Athletic has asked the Iowa state Department of Justice to investigate Easton, which came to last February’s Super Show armed with policies barring dealers from discounting top-end bats more than 10 percent off their SRP’s. H&B’s Louisville Slugger announced a similar policy at the same time.

The brands were reacting to widespread discounting on their top bat models from both catalog houses and big-box retailers, which were known to use these products as loss leaders – much to the chagrin of local team dealers and the manufacturers themselves.

But not everyone is happy with the new limitations. Western Athletic, which successfully sued Rawlings and buying groups TAG and ADA several years back for refusing to sell to them, said it will look to take on the manufacturers again.

“We intend to comply with the policy, but will try to fight it,” said John Lenertz, a manager at Western Athletic. “We don’t want to say anything other than that we disagree with the policy.”

Although both Louisville and Easton’s written policies state that each was enacted unilaterally, Western Athletic has called for an investigation of possible collusion between the two vendors, something both companies emphatically deny.

Meanwhile, the policies come as a life rope to team dealers struggling to maintain margins in the face of growing competition.

“The catalog sales are eating into our bat business like crazy now,” said Stan Nill, general manager of Nill Brothers in Kansas City, KS. “It kind of got to the point where nobody was making any money on softball fastpitch bats. Why somebody would sell a bat for $20 or $30 over cost is beyond me.”

He said the new policy makes sense, if it can be enforced.

“I think overall it’s going to be good for the bat business. If they maintain the integrity of that and have a way to police it, I think it will be fine. But I think it’s going to be more difficult to police than they think,” he said.

Both Louisville and Easton report that to this point they are not aware of any violations of the policy. But the policies cover just the top-end bats (the Redline C-Core bats from Easton and the Springsteel and Air Attack bats from Louisville), which just began shipping in recent months to select accounts. The real test will come in Spring ’98, when every big box and mail order service gets its first deliveries.

While no one claims to know how the new policies will play themselves out, the manufacturers steadfastly maintain that everyone will benefit in the long term.

“We feel the way the policy is written is going to create the greatest demand for our product,” said Bill Clark, national sales manager at Louisville Slugger. “We feel like whenever you enhance the brand equity of your product, you’re going to sell more bats.”

Firm & lean in just 4 weeks!

If you’ve been following our bikini-body plan since January, you’re already seeing firmer muscles, a roomier waistband, and less jiggle. If you haven’t started yet, it’s not too late! This month we’re pulling exercises from our Bikini Workout DVD. Pair these eight sculptors with our high-energy cardio plan and the pounds and inches will keep dropping off. You may even be inspired to take a beach vacation before summer.

How it works

You’ll need a set of 5- to 8-pound dumbbells and a resistance band for the strength routine. Warm up with 5 minutes of cardio, then do 2 or 3 sets of each move in order, resting up to 30 seconds in between. Do this routine 2 or 3 days a week. To turn this into an aerobic workout, perform 3 minutes of cardio (at an RPE of 6 or 7) after each move.

1 Plie Pass-Through

WORKS LEGS, BUTT, AND SHOULDERS

Holding a dumbbell in right hand next to shoulder, stand with feet wide, toes out. Squat as you press weight up, then lower it. Do 8 reps. Pass weight under left thigh to left hand as you squat until thighs are parallel to floor; straighten legs slightly then squat again as you pass it to right hand under right thigh. Do 7 passes, then 8 presses with left hand to complete set.

2 Squat With Reverse Band Fly

WORKS LEGS, BUTT, AND BACK

Stand with feet wider than shoulders and ends of band in hands, arms extended in front of you at shoulder height, palms down. Choke up on band until it’s taut. Squat as you bring arms out. Return to start: repeat. Do 10 reps.

3 Punch With Band

WORKS ABS, CHEST, AND ARMS

Stand with feet apart, ends of band in hands. Drape band behind shoulder blades; choke up so it’s taut when hands are next to shoulders, palms down. Punch left arm forward as you pivot right on left foot and turn torso and left hip right. Return to start; repeat with right arm to complete rep. Do 15 reps.

4 Criss-Cross Row

WORKS BACK, BICEPS, AND REAR SHOULDERS

Stand on center of band. Holding a dumbbell in each hand, grab right end of band in left hand, left end in right. Bend over and extend arms down, one hand in front of the other with palms facing behind you. Turn wrists so palms face each other as you draw hands toward rib cage. Lower; repeat. Do 12 reps.

5 Triceps Duo

WORKS BACK AND TRICEPS

Stand with left foot on band, right foot behind it. Holding an end of the band and a dumbbell in each hand, extend arms on either side of left leg, palms facing each other, band taut. Raise arms behind you, lower. Do 10 reps; on last rep, keep arms raised, bend elbows, and draw left hand toward chest , then right hand. Do 10 reps per side to complete set.

6 Push-Up With Band

WORKS CHEST, TRICEPS, AND CORE

Hold an end of a band in each hand and wrap it behind upper back. Get in push-up position on knees or toes. Take up slack in band so it’s tight. Bend elbows and lower chest toward floor. If band is loose at the bottom of the move, wrap it around your hands again. Press up and repeat. Do 10 reps.

7 Weighted Crunch

WORKS ABS

Holding one dumbbell in both hands in front of your chest, sit with knees bent, feet flat, and lean back until abs engage. Keeping torso still and chest high, press weight straight up, lower it to chest then sit straight up again to complete 1 rep. Do 15 slow reps.

8 V-Sit Side Roll

WORKS ABS

Lie on your left side with arms crossed in front of chest, legs straight and feet stacked. Roll onto your back, place hands on floor behind hips and sit up as you draw your knees toward your chest. Lower legs to floor as you turn and lie on your right side. Repeat back to left side to

BIKINI BODY CARDIO PLAN

How it works

Five or six times a week, do one of these. Choose any activity you like. If you make the weight workout more aerobic, substitute that for a cardio session. Take one day off each week to recover.

ENDURANCE BUILDER

45 minutes–or longer, if you like–at a moderate intensity (you should be breathing harder than normal but still be able to maintain a conversation).

HIGH-ENERGY PYRAMID

0-5:00 Warm up for 5 minutes at an easy intensity (you can talk easily).

5:00-15:00 Increase the pace, resistance and/or incline, and maintain a moderate intensity (you’re breathing somewhat hard but are still able to maintain a conversation).

15:00-25:00 Increase to a moderately hard intensity (you have to take a breath every few words).

25:00-35:00 Return to moderate intensity and check your form.

35:00-40:00 Gradually cool down so the last 2 minutes feel very easy.

At the tone, it’s Bulova time

Bulova Watch Co Inc is launching its first major television advertising campaign since the 1980s. Its ‘America Still Runs On Bulova Time’ campaign features the commercials ‘Troops,’ ‘Apollo’ and ‘Radio’. The spots were directed by Benjamin Productions’ Tracy Trotter out of New York-based Burkhardt & Hillman. Bulova is known for launching the very first TV and radio advertisements.

Pioneering Watch Company Breaks Back Into Broadcasting With Spots From Burkhardt & Hillman.

The Bulova watch company, which pioneered broadcast advertising by airing the world’s first radio and TV ads, has mounted a major TV campaign – its first in over a decade.

The campaign, “America Still Runs On Bulova Time,” via New York ad agency Burkhardt & Hillman, broke last week. The agency hopes that the three spots – “Apollo,” “Troops” and “Radio” – directed by Los Angeles-based Tracy Trotter through Benjamin Productions in New York, will restore Bulova’s brand image, and reach younger consumers who think of Bulova as their grandfather’s watch.

Pioneering Media

The campaign aims to bridge the old and the new by pairing archival footage and contemporary, family-oriented scenes. According to Bulova’s marketing director, Francie Abraham, they began production by researching the company’s advertising history at the Annenberg School For Communication at the Univ. of Pennsylvania to confirm the watchmaker’s pioneering use of media. Abraham explained that in 1926, history’s first radio commercial – “At the tone it’s 8 p.m., B-U-L-O-V-A, Bulova Watch time” – crackled across the earphones and loudspeakers of KDKA radio, Pittsburgh. By 1940, the almost omnipresent time checks, “At the tone, Bulova watch time is…” were playing on all 240 commercial radio stations then operating in the U.S.

On July 1, 1941, a :20 spot for Bulova was broadcast on now-defunct WNBT-TV New York from Ebbets Field in Brooklyn at the start of a Dodgers-Phillies game – the first-ever TV commercial. Media buyers take note: It cost $9.00 to buy time for that commercial – $4 for air charges and $5 for station charges.

The world’s first electronic watch, Bulova’s Accutron tuning-fork timepiece, was introduced in 1960 and widely advertised on TV. And in ’69, an Accutron clock was placed on the moon by Apollo 11 astronauts, the first men to set foot on its surface.

But while the company, founded in 1875 by Joseph Bulova, has long been one of the most recognized brand names in the world, the 1970s saw it swamped by competition from Japanese quartz-watch makers. After faltering for several years, the company changed hands and was bought by Loews Corporation in 1979.

Abraham noted that the company has since stabilized its retail presence and re-designed its line, and is hoping the new spots will resurrect some of the brand’s broadcasting luster. “We’ve been gaining market share without much advertising,” she said, “so now seemed like the perfect time to follow through with ads that will bring consumers to the counter asking for Bulova.”

The TV campaign is linked to Bulova’s print campaign from Kirschner & Carnoff in New York, which emphasizes families having quality time together.

Campaign History

Burkhardt & Hillman creative director Ron Burkhardt said the production’s biggest challenge was finding the necessary historical stock footage and matching the right music to fit the period. Easiest to get was the film for “Apollo,” which pairs stock NASA footage with a hospital birth scene, while the voiceover says bulova watches reviews “was there for America’s first journey out of this world and today we are often there when someone new comes into it.” It opens with astronauts on the moon, footage that came free from NASA.

In “Troops,” archival shots of World War II marines jumping from an amphibious troop carrier are matched with new film showing kids jumping from a van for a soccer game as the voiceover explains Bulova was there to help time invasions on the battlefield and today it helps get soccer troops to the field on time. And “Radio” shows scenes of old radio show productions matched with the contemporary shots of a father arriving at an airport and glancing at his nixon gold watch as his son rushes up to greet him. Once again the voiceover ties Bulova’s history to modern times.

Stock footage for “Radio” and “Troops” came from stock shops The Image Bank and Grinberg in New York. New live-action footage for the spots was shot on location in New York and New Jersey.

According to Burkhardt, the spots should appeal to a wide range of ages, with Apollo getting the younger consumers, “Troops” connecting with the baby boomers, and “Radio” the seniors.

Abraham added that, “I know it’s a bad pun, but I think it’s very timely that Bulova’s moving back into TV with this campaign just now with young people’s trend toward nostalgia and the popularity of programs like the History Channel.”