Tom Brady might need a Hail Mary to get guys to buy Ugg boots

By David Kiefaber on Tue Dec 7 2010


Tom Brady's quest never to pay for clothes again continues with his agreement to shill for Ugg boots for men. The global campaign will launch next year, and the New England Patriots quarterback is being called on to endorse an entire line of casual footwear, outerwear and accessories. Considering he already speaks for Under Armour (which he partly owns) and plays football every so often, Tom's a busy man. And it's a good thing he's used to a hectic schedule, because making Uggs palatable to men again will not be easy. They may have started out as a men's brand, but their densest market share is clearly ugly boots for women. And since I'm not sure there's a huge percentage of men who want to be Tom Brady (beyond their fantasies about his wife, anyway), I'm curious about who the target audience will be. Football fans? Urban sophisticates? Sitcom dads? The half of New England's population that doesn't want him to die in a fire? Speaking of, I wonder what being the face of Uggs will do for Brady's Q-rating. Hearing him say things like "I have worn and loved the Ugg brand for a long time" might turn some men against him from the get-go.

Ladies, would you buy a $795 pair of 'Tron: Legacy' high heels?

By T.L. Stanley on Wed Oct 20 2010


When are couture-inspired stilettos a good piece of movie marketing, and when are they just silly? According to Jezebel, Disney has come up with a $795 pair of futuristic-looking strappy sandals themed to the movie Tron: Legacy. While we can all argue about the price and relevance of such an item, let's back up a minute. First of all, high-end goods that launch with a movie are nothing new. They're almost de rigeur, depending on the flick and its target. (Example: Alice in Wonderland jewelry.) Second, designers like Jerome C. Rousseau, who created the sleek silver Tron heels, have been making deals with Hollywood for years, looking for a lift from the mega-million-dollar ad campaigns that surround event movies. Studios, in turn, enjoy the cachet (and potential revenue) they get from the association. That said, why would anybody want these kicks? If you're a woman with this kind of cash, would you a) be a fan of the December-opening sci-fi movie and b) want to display that on your feet? I wouldn't see much of a connection to the movie if a person were wearing the pricey footwear with no other outward signs of Tron: Legacy fandom. And in that case, what good does it do for Disney from an image-building/brand-awareness standpoint? Jezebel takes an even harsher view, saying: "There's something stomach-turning about the idea of Disney dangling a shiny shoe as a way to lure women into a movie about dudes playing video games." Plus, it's just opportunistic in a bad way, with the blog suggesting women can "smell a forced, non-organic, in-it-for-the-money marketing scheme a mile away. Manufactured cool is not cool." I'll be interested to see what the demand is for other Tron-linked products in the collection, like the $478 purse, the $495 earrings and the $2,600 necklace.

Ken Jeong finally put to good use in new Adidas TV commercial

By Todd Wasserman on Tue Oct 19 2010


Ken Jeong, who BrandFreak earlier noted was wasted in an Emmy tie-in with Infiniti, redeems himself in this new Adidas spot from 180LA. Jeung seems to be in character as Mr. Chow from The Hangover here, riding his solid-gold jet ski and acting the fool as his butler takes a leaf blower to all that cash on the lawn. In the end, Jeong can't beat D. Rose in a game of one-on-one, but it doesn't seem to bother him. After all, Jeong can still stand atop a "lady pyramid." See the spot after the jump.

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Is this upcoming Nickelodeon show just one long Skechers ad?

By T.L. Stanley on Wed Sep 15 2010


It was OK when ABC aired a show based on advertising icons, but when Nickelodeon tries to do the same, the Campaign for Commercial-Free Childhood goes ballistic. Well, actually, it wasn't OK when ABC did it, either. Cavemen, based on the mighty entertaining series of Geico ads, was criminal (and mercifully short lived). But back to Nick, which plans to launch Zevo-3 next month. The CCFC, which monitors the onslaught of marketing to kids, says the show is nothing more than a program-length infomercial for Skechers. Zevo-3's stars, children turned superheroes, were created to hawk the sneaker brand in ads, comic books and other marketing materials. The Children's Television Act and FCC rules would make them off-limits as kids' TV characters, according to entertainment industry blog The Wrap. The CCFC and its outspoken kids' advocate director, Susan Linn, are trying to stop the animated show, saying, "What's next? Programs like Clowning Around with Ronald McDonald? Have It Your Way with the Burger King? Tony the Tiger Toons?" Read more about the protest here, and see why Yo! It's the Chester Cheetah Show never made it off the ground.

Foul-mouthed Kenny Powers already giving K-Swiss a nice boost

By T.L. Stanley on Wed Aug 11 2010

Allowing your spokescharacter to berate your brand hasn't turned out so badly for K-Swiss. At least, not yet. The marketer recently launched a multi-pronged campaign with actor/comedian Danny McBride in his obnoxious F-bomb-dropping Kenny Powers persona from the cult-favorite HBO show Eastbound and Down. In just a week, the video snippets of Powers yelling obscenities at K-Swiss execs and making outrageous suggestions for their ads have garnered upwards of 500,000 views. Stock price of the company is trending up, and sales are strong (though of course it's anyone's guess if the advertising is responsible for those last two). The campaign from agency 72andSunny for K-Swiss's Tubes athletic shoes puts Powers side by side with pro footballers Jeremy Shockey and Patrick Willis and mixed-martial-arts fighter Urijah Faber in clips on and YouTube. Fans on the Facebook page, with a Powers widget called the "Workout Wingman," have grown five-fold to more than 50,000. In-theater ads launch this Friday, which is fortuitous timing, as Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and The Expendables are likely to draw flocks of young men (and presumably a lot of Powers aficionados) to the multiplex. Like the K-Swiss execs, they're not likely to be offended by a few swear words.

Converse kicks out the jams for summer. Shame about the song

By David Kiefaber on Tue Jul 20 2010

Converse sneakers are like Faygo soda—they're cheaper than a lot of their competitors, they come in all sorts of crazy colors, and they do horrible things to your body past a certain age. But since Chuck Taylors have become the official shoe of teenagers, Converse's marketing has shifted to appeal to them. Case in point is this music video for Kid Cudi's "All Summer," which mentions Chucks in the lyrics and has a laid-back vibe common to summertime radio jams until the rockier chorus kicks in. Sure, it's a boring song (worth the price at, where you can download it for free), and the video looks like Carnival relocated to Greenwich Village. But Converse has used music to reach out to teenage buyers before. I still have one of their All-Star CD compilations around my apartment somewhere. The tracklist was full of industry misfires like MxPx and Monster Magnet, so Converse's taste has always run towards fads. But its chief priority isn't nurturing musical genius, it's selling shoes, so that's understandable. I just wonder how long it's going to take before they attach themselves to a good song, is all. They should take a hint from Vans, which got the Circle Jerks and, unofficially, the Suicide Machines to literally sing their praises.

New Balance footwear getting in a patriotic mood this summer

Posted on Thu Jun 10 2010


When times are tough, patriotism is one way to lift spirits. I'm guessing the underperforming retail market is part of the reason (if not the main reason) why New Balance has slapped a red, white and blue logo on its website and debuted a new online video that carries the tagline: "Committed to American workers." In the video, posted after the jump and narrated by motorsports broadcast announcer Dr. Jerry Punch, the Home Depot pit crew of Joe Gibbs Racing is invited to swap jobs for a day with New Balance factory workers in Skowhegan, Maine. The video makes several references to New Balance shoes being U.S.-manufactured. For instance, a worker is shown putting a "Made in the U.S.A." sticker on the shoes, while a Home Depot crew member says he admires New Balance because it keeps American workers employed. Later, New Balance associates are shown switching jobs with the Home Depot pit crew, and performing maintenance on a Nascar race car. The video leaves you with a happy, all-American feeling and this statistic: "1 in every 4 pairs of shoes we sell in North America are made in the U.S." On a larger scale, the brand is kicking off a national awareness campaign this summer that will include in-store materials and footwear hangtags. So, even if you missed the online video, you won't miss the "Made in the U.S.A." messaging when you're buying New Balance shoes.

—Posted by Elena Malykhina

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Crocs are not as cool as they used to be, but they are a lifesaver

Posted on Mon Jun 7 2010


Crocs just saved the life of an adorable 3-year-old boy. Can your shoe brand say that? Sure, the resin monstrosities have already been convicted of crimes against fashion humanity because, well, they're hideous. Never mind they've been seen on the famous feet of Heidi Klum and Adam Sandler and other celebrities who probably didn't buy them in the first place but know they can get away with wearing anything they want. Now, though, the clunky shoes are a life-saver, having stopped a jolt of electricity from killing little Harley Sutton-Dormer in the U.K. Without the colorful clogs, he could've been a goner, paramedics say. Crocs, which had its huge-selling heyday and then dropped off a cliff, needs to get that public-safety message out asap. At the very least, every helicopter parent in the world will buy a pair. New suggested tagline: "Good and grounded!"

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

Stand tall in Earth Inc.'s Biostep recycled, biodegradable shoes

Posted on Mon Mar 1 2010


April 22 is Earth Day, and in case you've got nothing suitable to put on your feet to go with those hemp pants, organic cotton tie-dye shirt and crocheted dread tam, the Earth Inc. footwear company of Waltham, Mass., has just the thing to help you take your ecological stand: recycled, biodegradable shoes. In what has to be a first, the Biostep line of sandals, sneakers and slip-on casuals uses post-consumer-recycled plastic bottles for the linings and recycled milk cartons for the insole boards. And it's all held together with water-based adhesive. (Hell, even the boxes they come in are glue-free and printed with soy-based inks.) Millennial as all of this may sound, Earth Inc. actually started making eco-friendly shoes 15 years ago. "First we converted to using only water-based adhesives, then we began to use recycled soda bottles for our linings," says president Gary Champion. "Most recently, we introduced a biodegrable sole, which is really a huge breakthrough in the industry."
  No doubt. But—hey, wait a sec—how do you make sure the shoes don't start to biodegrade while you've got them on? "Good question," says Champion, who goes on to explain that the soles are an amalgam of starch-based additives and non-starch polymers, which only begin to decompose during extremes in temperatures—like you get in a landfill. So, for everyday wear, you can stand tall with no worries. It's just that you won't be standing straight up. Another Biostep feature is a sole that's inclined to 3.7 degrees, "which gives users gat-burning and toning benefits," according to the sales materials.
  Then again, you could just go barefoot.

—Posted by Robert Klara

'Bachelor' star set to run NYC Marathon in Rockport dress shoes

Posted on Tue Oct 27 2009


And the award for the hardest-working man in marketing goes to ... Andy Baldwin, star of The Bachelor: Officer and a Gentleman, which aired back in 2007. This weekend, Baldwin will run the New York City Marathon in Rockport's DresSports 2 shoes. The point: to prove the lightweight kicks are so comfortable that you can even run, yes, 26.2 miles in them. Each DresSports shoes weighs less than the average running shoe. (Rockport CEO and president Michael Rupp says: "Our designers removed unnecessary materials and technologies to create one of the most comfortable, lightest weight dress shoes available on the market.") That shoe design has a long lineage. It was originally created by Rockport vp Tony Post, who wore the original version in the 1990 race. This second-generation shoe is supposed to be lighter and even more comfortable. Five hundred pairs of the shoes also have orange laces, which advertise ING's "Run for Something Better" campaign, which funds school-based fitness programs.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman



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