Eddie Bauer, Giant Go Tandem for Bike Line

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Eddie Bauer, Redmond, WA, and Giant Bicycles, Rancho Domingueze, CA, will begin promoting their new co-branded line of recreational bicycles in catalogs and stores, at trade shows and through direct mail.

The line, which includes EB Sport, a comfort-enhanced mountain bike, EB Comp, an intermediate mountain bike for off-road fun and fitness, and EB Spirit, a town-and-country hybrid bike, was introduced at the Bicycle Expo in Las Vegas two weeks ago. The companies said the partnership builds on synergies between their target audiences.

"We didn't target an apparel company, we targeted a brand that was consistent with our market: recreational, outdoor active people," said Jim Simmons, director of marketing for Giant, a subsidiary of Giant Manufacturing Co. Ltd., Taiwan.

Giant, one of the world's largest bicycle manufacturers, primarily sells to the recreational market.

"Part of the reason that for the past three or four years the bicycle industry in the U.S. has had flat sales is that a small percentage of customers are those hard-core enthusiasts who ride screaming down the mountain like they're in a Mountain Dew commercial," Simmons said. "Its both a blessing and a curse that this has become the image of cycling because that is only appropriate for a small percentage of the population. We want to do what we do best: court the recreational market."

Eddie Bauer's house file of 15 million active customers, who have high incomes and are active outdoors on a casual and recreational basis, holds strong potential, he said.

"For Eddie Bauer, it is an opportunity for the brand to reinforce our outdoor heritage," said Don Perinchief, Eddie Bauer's divisional vice president for licensing and new business.

The bikes, which will be sold exclusively through bicycle stores, will be available at participating bicycle dealers next month; but the full campaign doesn't launch until spring.

Eddie Bauer's summer resource book, scheduled to be in homes on May 5, 1999, will contain an insert advertising the line, and other catalogs in the spring and summer will incorporate the bikes into catalog photography. Because the bikes are only available through select bike shops, a toll-free store locator number, 1-877-EB-GIANT, also will be advertised in catalogs.

Stores may include the bikes in their visual displays or may offer other visuals or materials that include the toll-free dealer locator number.

In addition, direct mail campaigns will be created for Giant-authorized bicycle dealers who commit to a certain amount of bikes from the Eddie Bauer line. Direct mail pieces will be designed and sent to customers from Eddie Bauer's house file who live in the area surrounding the participating bicycle shop.

The partnership came about after the Eddie Bauer visual team requested bicycles for in-store displays.

"I contacted Jim Simmons and asked if our visual team could have bikes to use and out of that came a conversation that we should explore the possibilities of a partnership," Perinchief said.

While the partnership is the first of its kind for Giant Bicycles, Eddie Bauer has similar partnerships with The Ford Motor Co., Signature Eyewear and furniture manufacturer The Lane Co.

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