Thursday, October 30, 2003

International marketing plan


Sato's All-America campaign is worldly

By Dustin Dow
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[IMAGE] Nesting dolls, to be sent to All-America voters, represent the six languages Romain Sato speaks: English, Swahili, French, Sango, Yakima and Gkadiri.
(Steven M. Herppich photo)
| ZOOM |
Romain Sato isn't the type to trash-talk on the court. But if he were, he could insult his opponent in six different languages.

Next week, the Xavier University All-America candidate will take his linguistics act worldwide - on the Web, that is.

The Xavier sports information department is set to launch a promotional Web site, AStarInAnyLanguage.com, to showcase Sato's basketball and academic talents. Sato, a senior, also will have a set of nesting dolls bearing his likeness sent to members of the media who choose All-America teams.

Xavier sports information director Tom Eiser developed the idea for a Web site and the dolls. Eiser, whose promotional work last season helped earn David West the Associated Press National Player of the Year Award, wanted to come up with something new, rather than the typical bobblehead doll that has become popular among fans.

The cost of producing the Web site and the nesting dolls is more than $10,000, Eiser said, not including the postage that will be required to send out the nesting dolls.

"You want to do something they've never seen before," Eiser said. "And in the end, you hope voters remember his name and Xavier University."

Sato already has appeared on preseason magazines' All-America teams and is Xavier's leading returning scorer and rebounder.

The Web site will feature Sato's biographical information and statistics, as well as six video clips of Sato speaking in different languages: English, Swahili, French, Sango, Yakima and Gkadiri. Eiser said he expects the site to be up and running by the middle of next week, and it will be linked from the main Web site of Xavier's athletic department, athletics.xu.edu.

"Hi, my name is Romain Sato. I am a student, and I play basketball at Xavier University," is the English equivalent of what Sato says in each clip. In the videos, Sato wears a different outfit, each one representative of the particular language.

Sato is a native of the Central African Republic and spoke five languages while growing up there. French and Sango are considered his native languages, and he learned English after coming to the United States during his junior year of high school.

During videotaping for the clips, it took quite a bit of time and effort to change into the six outfits, one after another, Sato said. But it was probably worth it, he added.

"(Eiser) is a good person to do that kind of thing," Sato said. "I know he did a lot last year with Dave West and it paid off. (Eiser) is the best at what he does."

Sato said he probably won't spend a lot of time looking at the Web site or the nesting dolls. But he likes the promotion, even though he expects to be teased by teammates about the dolls.

"I really don't care, but I think it's a good thing for people to know a little bit about me and know a little bit about the school," Sato said. "It's a good thing, but it's going to be just like last year when we gave Dave West a hard time about his bobblehead and told him it doesn't look like him. It's just a funny thing."

E-mail ddow@enquirer.com




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