When the boss of the Phillips Corporation in Eindhoven gave the go ahead for subsidiary company PDM to sponsor a cycling team in the late eighties I wonder if he realised the full extent of just how far the sponsorship deal would reach .
For a number of years the PDM cassette and video tapes were the best known in the world thanks to the exploits of the cycling team that bore their brand name . Grand Tours , major classics and just about every race on the International cycling calendar had a PDM jersey there at the final shake up .
The team was also a master in the art of merchandising . From the team replica Concorde framesets to the replica clothing and even the PDM mini jersey sticker that adorned many a rear car window and even the odd school pencil case the brand colours were seen far and wide.
The clothing in particular was a huge marketing success with half the schoolboy cyclists of Europe wearing PDM overshoes , leggings ,thermal jackets and gloves and the crowning glory, the PDM thermal hat .
Not alone did these hats look good on the bike, they also came in handy on a cold winters day off the bike .
The hat began to make cameo appearances at different locations throughout the country. A teachers protest on Cork city had a PDM hat in its midst in the national newspapers. The funeral of Charlie Haughey had one outside the Church .
One afternoon in Clonmel a man was being pursued by a vicious attacker wielding the handle of a hatchet as a weapon. Outside the door of a shop the attacker caught up with his target and proceeded to hit him over the head with the weapon. As the victim lay on the ground trying to shield himself from the vicious reign of blows out of the nearby shop stepped a PDM hat wearing saviour who poked the attacker with his umbrella and demanded that he stop attacking the other man. In astonishment the attacker stopped and turned to look at the person poking him with the umbrella. He looked at the saviour, then down at the victim, looked back at the PDM hat wearing saviour and began to raise the weapon again when in the corner of his eye he noticed 2 flourescent yellow Garda jackets approaching at speed. He turned and ran .
Recently former Miss Universe Ireland Roz Purcell, a woman well used to rubbing shoulders with the likes of Donald Trump from New York and Mondo from Fair city took part in a photo shoot for the Killurney school charity cycle with another PDM hat wearing fan along with a former PDM rider, 25 years after the decision was made in the Eindhoven board room to sponsor a cycling team . The cassette and video tapes are long gone but the hats still live on.