Dick's garners valuable air-time on The Apprentice

Real reality and TV reality have been merging frequently in primetime this season. First, Bally gets teams on "The Apprentice" to dream up new fitness classes as well as marketing for them. Now, Dick's Sporting Goods is getting its moment of fame on the Donald Trump show.
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Real reality and TV reality have been merging frequently in primetime this season. First, Bally gets teams on "The Apprentice" to dream up new fitness classes as well as marketing for them. Now, Dick's Sporting Goods is getting its moment of fame on the Donald Trump show.Â

Scheduled to air on Oct. 27, the hour-long episode featuring Dick's will challenge the two competing teams to create an in-store interactive event that will engage customers, drive traffic and ultimately increase sales. Reportedly, Dick's negotiated as many details of its Apprentice experience as possible to leverage the exposure and PR opportunities: The challenge takes place inside its stores to show those off. The episode is the sixth of the new season, timing meant to give the show enough time to build momentum but still have enough competitors left to handle a team assignment. And Dick's even sponsors the reward at the end of the show.

The outcome of the two teams' efforts was so well-received by Dick's management that it has created a promotional challenge of its own inspired by the "Apprentice" task, planned for Oct. 28-30 in 107 stores.

The "Make It Take It Sharpshooter Challenge," gives customers 24 seconds to make five shots -- one at each designated floor spot. The more baskets made, the more prizes won. If a customer makes all five shots, they win all five prizes plus a $100 gift card from Dick's. Adidas has provided specially-designed signage and props that give the event area a real basketball court look and feel. Other sponsors include Spalding, Lifetime, the NBA and EA Sports.

Media research firm PQ Media estimated the value of product placement deals rose 30.5 percent in 2004 and likely would rise another 22.7 percent to $4.24 billion this year propelled by "marketers wary of ad-skipping technologies" -- like TiVo or a trip to the bathroom. Dick's has had a rocky road financially since its purchase of Galyan's, admitting it hasn't paid enough attention to store promotion. It said the Apprentice deal was an opportunity to raise awareness in the new Dick's markets as well as pump some energy into existing ones.

SNEWS® View: We'd say so and more! You've got a national TV audience watching a basic business planning session, but Dick's gets more TV time than it could begin to afford or likely would invest in. What great timing too – right before the big holiday season kicks off. Hmm, wonder if there is an Apprentice episode out there for a specialty store? Now that would be a challenge for the shows wanna-be's.

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