Little Richard rips up the YardsGood Golly, Miss Molly, is...

CONSUMER MARKETPLACE

March 13, 1993|By Michael Dresser | Michael Dresser,Staff Writer

Little Richard rips up the Yards

Good Golly, Miss Molly, is that Little Richard singing the Baltimore Orioles' new theme song?

You bet.

Trahan Burden & Charles, the Orioles' Baltimore-based advertising agency, recruited the rock 'n' roll legend to record the music for the team's new theme, "Go Play in the Yard."

The title track, recorded in California shortly before Richard Penniman received a lifetime achievement Grammy award last month, will be heard in Orioles ads throughout the season, said agency spokeswoman Miriam Weinstein.

The ads, a sharp departure from last year's nostalgic "Welcome Home" theme, were first heard during an Orioles exhibition game this week and will be part of a radio and TV campaign starting the week of March 29. Little Richard also recorded a longer version for play at Orioles games.

The music for "Go Play in the Yard" was written by Little Richard, who collaborated on the lyrics with TBC creative director Allan Charles and copy writers Jeff Alphin and Jane King.

"It was a trip to work with him," said Mr. Charles. "It was a dream. I just idolized this guy.

Canadian chain joins Harborplace

The newest addition to Harborplace is April Cornell, a Canadian chain that moved into the space vacated by Laura Ashley in the Pratt Street Pavilion.

The store offers a variety of home decorations and crafts from around the world -- with an emphasis on vivid colors. The 39-store, Montreal-based chain is owned by the husband-and-wife team of Chris and April Cornell.

Study finds Kmart undercuts Wal-Mart

When people compare Wal-Mart Stores and Kmart Corp., it's usually to point out the shortcomings of the home of the Blue Light Special. Not so a recent report from Prudential Securities.

Prudential analysts Wayne Hood and Dina Pliotis recently conducted a pricing survey of four major discount chains in the highly competitive St. Louis area. They found that Kmart was the cheapest guy in that town -- a result that could be representative of other areas.

The analysts priced 109 items, of which 66 were at all four stores: Kmart, Wal-Mart, Target and Venture (the latter two chains are not yet players in Baltimore).

Based on those 66 items, the survey found Kmart's prices 4.2 percent below the average, while Wal-Mart's were 0.4 percent above. That put it third, behind Dayton-Hudson Corp.'s Target, whose prices were 0.7 percent below average. Missouri-based Venture wasn't even in the ballpark, with prices 3.5 percent above the mean.

"Most managers continued to say Wal-Mart is still tough on prices, but that it had begun to raise prices in some less price-sensitive areas compared with its pricing a few years ago," the analysts wrote.

Interpreting such a result is tricky, but if the pricing pattern holds in other markets, it indicates that Wal-Mart might be coasting a bit on its reputation for superior service and more modern stores.

It also hints that Kmart, which is pouring billions into bringing its stores up to Wal-Mart levels, could make the 1990s a lot tougher decade than the 1980s for its archrival if it can only come to grips with its nagging service and image problems.

Lacrosse showroom opens in Timonium

Ulman Sports International, which claims to be the world's largest mail-order house for lacrosse equipment and clothing, moved out of cramped quarters in Jarrettsville this month and opened a 14,000-square-foot (that's the size of a small grocery store) facility in Timonium -- complete with a catalog showroom.

Jim Ulman, the Baltimore native who founded the company in 1983, said the sport has undergone "explosive growth" in recent years, forcing him to get on the stick and seek roomier quarters.

Mr. Ulman played midfield for the University of Virginia in 1970-1973, a period when the school won two national championships. He also led the Mount Washington Lacrosse Club to three national club championships from 1975 to 1977.

The new showroom is at 7 West Aylesbury Road.

Pricey electronics not always worth it

It costs more, so it's gotta be better, right?

Wrong -- especially when it comes to consumer electronics, according to University of Maryland at College Park researchers Adriana Jannuzzi and Rachel Dardis. They conducted a study that found that U.S. consumers spent $5.3 billion more than necessary on home electronic products in 1991 alone.

According to the study, "Consumers, in general, equate a higher price with better quality. But our study shows there is usually no correlation between the two."

The university duo used Consumer Reports quality data to evaluate the relationship between price and the quality of camcorders, compact disc players, videocassette recorders, color televisions and other household electronic goods.

The researchers suggested that consumers take greater advantage of product testing magazines and keep a closer eye on label information.

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