NBA checks merchandising decline with humor

02/14/2005 | NYTimes.com

In effort to shore up flagging apparel sales, the National Basketball Association hired the Omnicrom Group agency Arnell Group to produce a series of spots staring former NBA legends like Bill Walton and Dominique Wilkins and comic actor Fred Willard to use gentle humor to deflect attention away from the league's growing image problem. Apparel sales, which account for approximately half of the NBA's merchandising revenues, are down from a peak of $3 billion in 1995.

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