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Fuji Photo Film, USA, Inc., and Paintball News Corp.,
Sign National Sponsorship Agreement
 

BOSTON--FEEL THE RUSH!, was the mantra at Paintball News Corp., this week as they proudly unveiled a nationwide marketing alliance of play sites and stores where the sport can be played, dubbed, Paintball News Network (PNN).

The Hillsboro, NH, based company who publishes Paintball News--the only newspaper in the industry--has also been tapped as The Official Paintball Publication of Fuji Photo Film, USA, Inc., who agreed to terms for an exclusive three year sponsorship agreement and grabbed the status as Official Imaging Partner of PNN. Financial terms were not disclosed. Fuji manufactures the largest assortment of photo imaging products of any company with worldwide market share within 2% of the competition. The 42 year old international corporation has a product line-up that includes, amateur and professional film, Quicksnap one time use cameras, professional motion picture film, electronic digital imaging products, computer floppy disks, cartridge tape and optical disks, graphic arts film, chemistry, plates, medical and industrial x-ray film, chemical free photographic color copier, audio cassette tape, videotape, consumer and pro. In 1998, Fuji's worldwide sales were $10.4 billion.

Noted for marketing brand support, Fuji's success has come from their use of a variety of techniques, which include network, national cable, and outdoor with theFujiFilm Blimp. Sponsorships of SeaWorld, Busch Gardens, Sesame Place, Adventure Island, and Water Country USA has also helped drive the brand. Sports marketing is no stranger to Fuji either, they also sponsor, World Cup Soccer, Major League Baseball Players Association, NFL, World Figure Skating, US Open Tennis, US Swimming Team, US Track & Field Team and now, The Paintball News Network. "Not bad company to be associated with", said former Virgina Beach, VA resident, David Hutch Hutcherson, who is Paintball News Corp. vice-president of corporate sales and partnership marketing, we've only grabbed the tip of the iceberg, and by forming this exclusive marketing relationship with FujiFilm--a notable corporate giant, PNN will dramatically expand the marketing message of paintball, and in doing so boost attendance at participating locations and will raise the bar for this 800 million dollar international industry.

Our decision to create PNN is based on strong rationale, explains Hutcherson, relatively small, isolated entities gain significant strength when they pool their resources. Dairy farmers have benefited from this type of union for several years now through national endeavors like the Got Milk and milk mustache campaigns. The ski and snowboard industry is organizing itself in a similar way. Co-op relationships, where large corporations underwrite another¹s advertising efforts that support their products, are a marketing mainstay.

Fuji's sponsorship of PNN will entitle Fuji to, exclusivity, says Hutcherson, with all participating PNN locations agreeing to purchase Fuji products, include Fuji products in PNN national and regional events, FujiFilm Logo Signage to be displayed at all participating locations, FujiFilm and Quicksnap product merchandising displays at the front/main counter, Fuji product savings offered in consumer mailings and player newsletters.  FujiFilm will also receive employee incentive awards through discounted PNN Play Pass Certificates up to 50% of face value.  PNN Play Pass Certificates will come in denominations of $25 and $50, and are good for Paintball game plays only, are fully used upon presentation and may not be redeemed for cash.

In exchange, the money collected from sales of Play Pass certificates will be reinvested into a consolidated regional co-op fund. FujiFilm will provide through Paintball News Network, key market programs that will incent participating locations with funding from a consolidated promotional accrual to support regional programs and promotions. These programs and promotions will include radio, sweepstakes and  product marketing support programs, such as paintball-related theme and seasonal on-pack added value, and much, much more. Fuji also agrees to purchase any paintball-related products directly from Paintball News Network and will not enter into any agreement with paintball-related manufacturers or their
representative firms nor sales companies. A huge advantage to participating locations, adds Hutcherson, FujiFilm has recognized that playsites and stores are the grassroots of the paintball industry and has committed a substantial amount of support to provide cross-promotional opportunities with key regional Fuji retailers.

Not wanting to be eliminated from the competition, both Pepsi and Coca-Cola have drawn battle lines in the sand. Theyare both pursuing paintball game fields and stores by presenting exclusive partnership program proposals which offer everything from aggressive, value added promotions to discretionary marketing funds to event sponsorships to radio tags, says Hutcherson. Paintball is a previously fringe sport which has a growing mainstream appeal in North America among an estimated 10 million 12-17 year old males. Even telecommunications giant, MCI WorldCom has presented a marketing partnership proposal.

Paintball News Corp., has also put together a formidable marketing and promotions team which will help move the industry forward and is positioned to usher in a new era for paintball stores and play sites as it prepares Play Paintball. Feel The Rush!¹, a nationwide promotion set to launch later this year. We are now ready and look forward to preparing a national campaign targeting 12-17 year-old males and their parents, says David Hutch Hutcherson. Tapped as lead agency to handle creative services is Duffy & Shanley in Providence , RI, who also handles ESPN's Xtreme Games and Teton Gravity Research. They were not going to get away from us, explains Jonathan Duffy, Duffy & Shanley's vice-president of business development. PNN has everything we look for in a client. They have phenomenal creative potential in a rapidly growing industry. The creative possibilities are tremendous. Duffy's sports marketing experience was the deciding factor for us, Hutcherson adds, we are confident they will help us develop marketing programs and promotions that will increase worldwide awareness of paintball as an exciting entertainment option, and help in the growth of the Paintball News Network. KSV Communicators in Burlington, VT will handle Public-relations, a no-brainer for us, chimes Hutcherson, having the daughter of Bob Guernsey, who is the father of Paintball working for them, who would you choose? But wait, there's more...PriMedia, Inc., in Warwick, RI, the Ginsu's creators will handle media.
 
"When asked if he thought he had made the right agency selections", Hutcherson said, "Winners know when they see each other. I haven't seen a team with as much talent and credibility to handle this project since I left hotel giant Best Western International, Inc., two years ago to take advantage of what I'll call an opportunity of a lifetime. Early on in this process, I knew we had to have the best. The timing is right, looks and feels good."


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