Hanesbrands Inc. Signs Deal with Disney

Ieva M. Augstums
Associated Press
October 30, 2007

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Looking to keep growing its Hanes and Champion brands, Hanesbrands Inc. said Tuesday it has signed a wide-ranging marketing deal with The Walt Disney Co. that includes product co-branding, attraction sponsorships and signage at Disney parks and resorts.

The 10-year deal is estimated to be worth "tens of millions of dollars," and is the largest marketing alliance for the T-shirt, bra and underwear maker, Hanesbrands officials said. The company shared details of the deal with The Associated Press before its public announcement scheduled for Wednesday.

"I cannot think of a better partner with Hanes than Disney," said Kevin Hall, the chief marketing officer at Winston-Salem-based Hanesbrands. "Hanes, like Disney, connects with America. It's a brand for all ages and all genders. It's a family brand."

All basic apparel sold by Disney at its parks and resorts, and at the company's ESPN Zone restaurants, will now be from the Hanes and Champion lines. Under the agreement, basic apparel includes T-shirts and tanks and fleece sweat shirts, sweat pants, hoodies and other garments, including infant and toddler items.

The deal also allows Hanesbrands to co-label much of the clothing, as in "Disneyland Resort by Hanes."

"I would think it will help the perception of the consumer," said Global Crown Capital analyst Martin Pyykkonen. "As they walk into the store they are asking themselves, 'Oh, do I buy this T-shirt and it falls apart?' Having a name brand like Hanesbrands may help."

Hanes also will become the sponsor of the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith, one of the main attractions at the Disney-MGM Studios park in Florida. Champion will also have naming rights for the stadium at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex in Florida, and the deal includes promotions at the ESPN Zone restaurants throughout the country.

Hanesbrands chief executive Richard Noll said the agreement "builds on the strength of two of the world's most recognized brands."

"We have a commitment to invest in our strongest brands," Noll said in an interview. "It's one more tactic along the way."

Since its spin-off from Sara Lee Corp. a year ago, Hanesbrands has focused on growing and bringing attention to its largest and top-selling products. In September, the company launched a national advertising campaign for its Playtex bras. The campaign, dubbed "Girl Talk," features women talking about their breasts and their attempts to find bras that fit well.

Over the course of the year, product promotional spots featuring actress Jennifer Love Hewitt, basketball great Michael Jordan and Academy Award-winning actor Cuba Gooding Jr. have aired on television and online.

"We've got a lot of room to grow these big brands," Noll said. "That's our plan."