Category Archives: branding

High Fashion on the Field: Dolce and Gabbana Extend Deal with Azzuri

When it comes to professional sports, you often see high fashion brands on the backs of athletes off the field but never during game play. However, it should come as no surprise that soccer (or football, out of North America) is the first sport to really embrace fashion on the field. Many soccer players in Europe have modeled for brands,have enviable closets that resemble high-end boutiques and are often credited for bringing the slim, slick suits to the sporting world. Only in recent years have North American athletes began adopting the “Euro” style of dress and swagger.

Today, Dolce and Gabbana announced that they would be extending their deal with the Italian national soccer team through 2014. The Italian fashion house will begin designing kits for the men’s senior team for the qualifications of the 2012 UEFA European Championships as well as the Under-21 squad. The collaboration originally started in 2006 after the men’s national team (also known as Azzuri) won their fourth World Cup. Dolce and Gabbana’s old deal had them dressing the Italian athletes in suits for pre and post game, but not on field. Azzuri’s previous jersey outfitter was German sports brand Puma. 2014 is a significant year as it marks the next FIFA World Cup in Brazil. Italy will be trying to capture their fifth World Cup after falling short of defending their title in 2010.

The Italian national team isn’t D&G’s first foray into soccer sponsorship. They sponsor local Serie A squad AC Milan and they’ve also been clothing the Milano Beach Soccer Club since 2008. D&G also produced a book dedicated to the players of AC Milan appropriately titled Milan Fashion Soccer Players Portraits this past May and have used athletes for underwear advertising editorials.

What team or sport will we next see embracing high fashion on the field? Stella McCartney designs tennis gear for adidas and the Williams sister ae known for pushing the boundaries of costume attire with their on-court attire with Nike. Fashion often takes cues from sport using football pads as armour for models and varsity jackets are now synonymous with streetwear. Rafael Nadal has stripped down to model for Emporio Armani while Dwyane Wade is collaborating on watch collections – sports and fashion are no longer odd bed fellows but frequent collaborators.

Leave a comment

Filed under branding, endorsement, fashion, jerseys, sports, trends, uniforms

Leave the Classics Alone: Tommy Hilfiger’s Uniform Re-Designs for ESPN the Mag

Every year when the ESPN Style Issue drops, I feel like a kid at Christmas. How will the worldwide leader in sports cover the niche of aesthetics and athletics in print and online? I approach this issue with a critical eye: partly because I hope to edit it myself in the near future and because I hold the subject very close to my heart and my wardrobe. Naturally, this year’s style issue features a column on uniforms, the organized sports version of the runway show. The uniform in gameplay are much like the garments in a runway show. They are classic and minimally styled but punched up with talent – like the Yankees big sluggers or a Calvin Klein show with super models walking. Or, they are outlandish or seemingly impractical like a Hussein Chalayan’s robot dresses or the Oregon Ducks infamous technologic gear. Is it wearable, practical and most importantly, will it sell? After all, both sports and fashion are businesses.

For this Style issue, ESPN had Tommy Hilfiger, the iconic Americana designer, re-interpret four classic uniforms – the New York Yankees, the Montreal Canadiens, the Dallas Cowboys, and the Los Angeles Lakers. It was an interesting yet obvious choice to have a heritage designer put his own spin on four uniforms that haven’t changed much from their original but beloved classic gear. I would have preferred to have Hilfiger take a crack on the teams that really need help in finding their own identity in their brand and style. The Oklahoma City Thunder, the Jacksonville Jaguars, Arizona Diamondbacks and the Phoenix Coyotes are among many teams that could all use a professional’s touch in the design department.

It would need a total brand overall and a lot of space, styling and graphic design in the magazine. However, using North American’s most popular teams as an example are a way to drive page views, debates and sheer terror in the hearts of fans and jersey aficionados alike.

Out of all the designs by Hilfiger, I feel that the New York Yankees’ uniforms were the most disappointing. I’m a Mets fan, but even though my green-eyed MLB monster may look to the Yankees’ roster with envy, I’ll always admired their pinstripes. There was uproar when names were to be added to the player’s shirts – you don’t mess with the classics and a certified money-maker. Hilfiger was smart enough to stick to pinstripes at least, the root of the Yankees style. However, using constrasting colours on the back and front of the uniforms was a mistake. Two different pinstripes at the same time would be dizzying to the cameras as would the use of both white and blue as it would be tough for the cameras to focus on the bright white as it would glow in the outdoor sunlight and under the stadium lights and balance it with the deep navy. Not only would it look poor on broadcast but it would be difficult to wear for thicker players to wear. Can you imagine a big man like C.C. Sabbathia half in navy and half in white – colour blocking with stripes would not have a slimming effect on the hefty pitcher.

The “NY” in the Tommy Hilfiger crest looks more like the New York Jets logo than the slim Yankees logo. It’s been imitated, tattooed and emblazoned on millions of ball caps – but it’s never bested. You can’t mess with that classic logo. The font of the numbers is fine and reminiscent of the original font the Yankees use now, however the placement on the chest looks too low and with the Hilfiger crest on the opposite chest, it puts so much emphasis on the top half. The use of button and polo collar are not practical for baseball. A big part of speedy Yankees like Curtis Granderson, is the ability to steal bases and sliding on all those buttons isn’t safe – they could chafe or open while in play. I like the pants as they’re simple and the socks with vertical stripes are very classic. However, all the pinstripes and colour blocking just muddies up a usual clean jersey.

The Los Angeles Lakers’ current gold and purple home jerseys haven’t changed much since their move to the city of Angeles from Minneapolis. The shorts are longer, the font is crisper and the material is more advanced but the classic, retro style remains. Hilfiger says his inspiration comes from sailing motifs in his own collections however I’m not sure why players would want to look like a sail. The purple and white stripes are somewhat awkward across the chest, widening that area and not lengthening players, which would be more aesthetically pleasing. The beautiful Lakers front was replaced with a boring, basic font that would look better on a typewriter and not a jersey. It’s very small and white, which would be difficult to read on the bright yellow on camera and in the arena.

I’m glad that Hilfiger used his better judgement against the short-shorts and keeping a long, loose silhouette that the players prefer. Especially after the recent “Fab Five” documentary, where the long shorts were championed with style and swagger. The stripes on one leg of the shorts is visually interesting and echos the horizontal stripes on the jerseys but once again, makes them seem larger. Perhaps if they were on both shorts or on a diagonal layout it would be more flattering. I don’t mind the number on the shorts, however it shouldn’t be bigger than the number on the front of the jersey, it should be smaller or equal in size. The crest on the front of the jersey looks tacked on and that’s where the NBA embroidery is meant to go. It would look better scaled down and on the back of the right leg of the shorts.

The Cowboys, partly due to owner Jerry Jones’ constant chatter, are “America’s team”. They’re the second most valuable sports franchise according to Forbes, only Manchester United bests the blue and silver. I find the Cowboys uniform to be the most aesthetically pleasing of the four re-designs as it is somewhat loyal to the original version. However, the uniforms are overly embellished. The concept of having the infamous Dallas stars all over the sleeves to represent all the different states that the players come from is a sweet idea and a tribute to the team, however it fails in execution. The sleeves look cluttered and like they belong to perhaps a pewee team – at least the Ohio State Buckeyes keep their small stickers on their helmet, not on their apparel. It would be better to keep the Stars minimal for more impact, like the giant Star on the centre of the Dallas Cowboys New Stadium. The small star and simple lines on the pants are a nice, clean look. I like the idea of the American red, white and blue stripes around the middle but it would look better as piping on the bottom of the jersey. However, red, white and blue are not and were never the Cowboys’ colours, so why bother including them?

The Tommy crest beneath the player’s number on the back of the jersey looks tacked on and would look better at the very bottom of the jersey or above the number and scaled down. On the famous silver Cowboys’ helmet, Hilfiger enlarged the Star and added the player’s number inside the star. The problem with this is the number will change depending on whether the player wears one number or two and certain numbers are blockier and take up more room than others. The changes in sizes and scale wouldn’t look clean and I think the old adage of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” applies to the original Cowboys’ helmet.

The Montreal Canadiens (or the Habs) are a member of the original six franchises of the NHL. The Canadiens’ centennial celebration lasted two full seasons as the team re-released their original hockey sweaters worn during the early years. Most designs were well received and one of the most polarizing among fans was fittingly the red and blue barber pole style. Hilfiger used the horizontal stripes, a favorite of his, in his design of the Habs’ uniforms. The stripes are popular in Hilfiger’s main inspiration source, rugby shirts, as well. To quote the rapper Cam’ron, “I love Rugby to death, made that my baby’s name” and while Cam’ron may have referred to Hilfiger’s competition, the Ralph Lauren Rugby brand – I, too, have no qualms with most rugby designs. The diagonal white sash though looks more fitting for a beauty queen than a hockey player. The white is distracting and the font is very basic. It looks so cluttered and the infamous Hab logo is nowhere on the jersey – that’s practically sacrilegious in Montreal.

When it comes down to the details, I like the Habs’ new crest the best out of all the Hilfiger designs. The use of the fleur de lys is a nice touch, even though it was the logo of the former arch rival Quebec Nordiques. The font is nothing special, but like lettering that is used on most NHL jerseys. The numbers on the sleeves could be scaled a bit larger as they will look very small once they are over muscles and equipment. The pants are clean with simple stripes and would work with either red or white jerseys. The ties on the jersey neckline are now common on retro designs usually worn as third jerseys and fits in with the heritage of the Habs. The white patch that the numbers are sewn on is unnecessary and another layer of fabric would weigh down the uniform. Most jerseys in the NHL are incredibly lightweight to help wick sweat and so many pieces of fabric and embroidery would make it heavy and impractical.

I’m not impressed with Hilfiger’s design direction of these uniforms. Designs will change with the trends but the original four jersey designs are classics. They will be tweaked over the years depending on fabric and cut of the league standard uniforms (such as the adidas contract with the NBA) but scale and . If Mr. Hilfiger wanted to make a significant design statement he should have gone all the way and done something completely out of the ordinary and not merely remixing the originals. I would love to see ESPN push the envelope in their Magazine style issue in the future.

2 Comments

Filed under branding, jerseys, sports, trends, uniforms

Maëlle Ricker: Not Your Average Olympian

How do you differentiate between an athlete and someone who only participates in a sport? Do you need to be a professional to earn the athlete title? My sport of choice is snowboarding. I competed briefly and taught at a local ski hill. When I wasn’t chasing my students, I was spending my spare time hunting for powder on the icy East Coast and destroying my body in the snow park. It was a badge of honour to show up hung over or bounce right back from a concussion and crank big turns. Snowboarders, back when I started in the late 90’s, were almost like the hip hop alternate to skiers – we weren’t jocks, we were the stylish outcasts. We wore our pants low and our heads were covered in oversized goggles, headphones and tall toques. It was about style and speed, not athletics.

Recently, Gatorade contacted me about speaking with one their marquee athletes to launch the G Series line here in Canada. I was surprised that the athlete in question was Olympics gold medalist and World Cup snowboard cross athlete, Maëlle Ricker. Maëlle captured the country’s heart when she was the first woman to win gold on home soil. A Vancouver local, she grew up in the mountains, with parents who “eat, breath and speak skiing”. She started snowboarding after her following her old brother’s lead and was instantly hooked. For Maëlle, snowboard cross made sense because she was able to combine all of her snow skills. “I have my background in ski racing when I started snowboarding I was all about freestyle, I wanted to jump and do the half-pipe and all that. When I tried snowboard cross, all my different sporting backgrounds, […] kind of combined into an event that I excelled at. I had the freestyle skills from riding and sort of the race skills from ski racing”.

Snowboarding has gone from a fringe sport that many mountains outlawed to a marketable, professional and perhaps most importantly, an Olympic sport. Maëlle agrees that snowboarders don’t necessarily like the athlete title that comes along with the professional designation, “there is this misconception that snowboarders aren’t working out, they’re not trying”. Maëlle said at the High Road Communications office in downtown Toronto. She was wearing jeans, a Gatorade zip up and a pair of practical platform, waterproof knee-high boots. “…That’s just the image we like to give off. We actually are working our butts off. We’re out on the hill everyday, all day. We are in the gym in the afternoons and in the offseason”. I remember powder days where we would go out for hours on end without food, water and sometimes, not even an iPod. But times have changed and Maëlle is endorsing Gatorade, one of the most recognized brands in sports and an icon in athlete branding. She’s one of over four hundred athletes, including Dwyane Wade, Usain Bolt and Georges St. Pierre, that Gatorade collaborated with in developing the new G-Series. Their goal with the G-Series, which launches March 21st in Canada, is to move the brand from purely a sports drink company to a sport nutrition innovator.

But how do these three steps of Gatorade: prime, perform and recover, help Maëlle? She competes in a sport where not only do milliseconds matter when crossing the finish line, but she needs explosive strong muscles when banking turns and going over big air jumps. She likes the series because she’s able to use it on and off the hill in riding and work outs, “When I’m on the hill, like for example when I’m at a race, I make sure 15 minutes before I drop in for my heats, I’m taking the Prime, I’m getting the right carbs, vitamins and electrolytes into my system so that I’m at my maximum energy for when I’m riding. Or when I’m riding or when I’m at the gym, it’s so important to keep hydrated. Even if you’re just slightly dehydrated, like two percent, you’re going to be off your game, you’re not going to be able to re-act as well, your muscles are not going to respond as quickly as you need them […] When I’m done my race or I’m done my workout, then right away you’re beating your muscles down all work out, basically breaking them down and now you have a really short window to recover and to get the right nutrients in so that you’re building your muscles back up to be stronger and ready for the next day. So that’s when you’re going to be your protein and your carbs and that’s the recover part of the line of the G Series”.

Maëlle is more than just a snowboarder but also an avid student of the sport. She admits that she’s not always paid attention to the training aspect of professional snowboarding. It wasn’t until an injury forced her to hit the gym diligently. Tearing an ACL is a common but devastating injury to a snowboarding as all day on the hill, they’re flexing and extending their knees for turns, jumps – they’re like human shock absorbers.”That’s the first time I was really serious about making sure I was fit and ready on my board […] the last few years working a lot with board technology and […] today working with sports nutrition. We’ve had nutritionists in the past with the team and they’ve been awesome but just being a part of this Gatorade family and testing this new G Series line and having that integrated into my personal program, it’s really cool”.

I had to ask Maelle more about the style aspect of snowboarding, being someone who’s into the fashion as much as the frontside spins. Snowboard cross may not ooze swagger like other events, but Maelle recognizes rider’s signatures just as easily on the course as the half-pipe “…Everyone has their own style on the course. I mean, you know your competitor, you can see them from a mile away, you know who it is just from the way they ride […] I don’t know how people describe my style […] I hope nothing negative!”. When it comes to her on snow apparel, she always choses comfort over fashion, favouring baggy pants, long jackets and more basic colours like blues, greens and reds. Besides her own Olympic gear, which she called “super tech […] and ready for the miserable weather”, she liked the faux jean outfits that the American team was wearing. She’s had a chance to work on the more performance area of apparel as well as board technology but hasn’t designed any of her own gear.

Maëlle snowboards for the love it, her eyes light up when she talks about free riding and mountaineering to further her exploration of the beloved backcountry. The training, along with World Cup events last all year round, which suits her just fine as she’s never been one to sit still. When it came to preparation for the Olympics, Maëlle had a very no non-sense approach, “the thing with the Olympics, even in my hometown, I still treated it like another World Cup. I didn’t drive my car […] I went on the bus with the team. I made sure before I competed that nothing was drastically different from when I competed with the team in the rest of the season. Obviously, after the event, things got kind of crazy […] I was really happy to be back with my team in Europe and racing again, I felt like I was back in my skin and at my comfort level”.

Winning the Olympic gold medal has afforded opportunities but also a few challenges, “It’s forced me to learn a different side of snowboarding – the business side. I’ve probably matured a lot in the last year. But, I’ve had some amazing opportunities with ACT Now BC and Kid Sport Canada and then I get the chance to align myself with companies I believe in”. Where does she go from here? Olympic Gold medalist, Winter X-Games gold medalist, Gatorade endorser – what more can she do? “I’m still progressing and still moving on an upward slope in boarder cross and I’m looking forward to keep pushing myself in the next few years. And I’m also really passionate about free riding and being out in the backcountry – I have the mountain right at my doorstep”.

Maëlle’s honesty and laid back love of the sport is inspiring. She may not ooze style through what she wears but her riding and patronage of the sport is contagious. She’s not your typical athlete but she proves that you don’t have to be a typical jock or fit the image of the stereotypical snowboarder to succeed – she walks the fine line, all for the love the powder turn and the going for the gold.

For more on Maëlle, you can click below to read the transcript of our interview below. Special thanks to Laura from High Road Communications and Gatorade Canada Team.

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under branding, endorsement, event, personal style, sports

Made in China: Steve Nash Leaves Nike for Luyou

It seems that this NBA season is a time of transition for Steve Nash. In late 2010, he announced that he was divorcing from his wife. He endured another separation with Amar’e Stoudemire leaving for the Knicks. And now, the two-time most valuable player is parting ways with Nike Basketball, after fifteen years, to sign with a Chinese athletics brand called Luyou. Why the sudden change at mid-season? Leaving major brands for start-ups is a new trend among veteran NBA players. Baron Davis, a noted fashion plate and friend of Nash, was one of the first to sign with an Asian-based company. Davis has his own signature shoe and his Beardman logo literally makes him the face of Li-Ning. Shaquille O’Neal is also part of Li-Ning. Kevin Garnett left adidas to join ATNA and became their marquee player, and not just a member of adidas’ basketball “brotherhood”.

Photo credit: SneakersNews.com

Why the sudden trend? Are larger companies just not giving enough attention to the superstars? Is it about money? Or about growing their brand as players to ensure longevity once their playing days come to an end? Doing well the Asian market can translate to huge dollars in terms of jersey sales, revenue from signature shoes and marketability with other brands overseas that could continue into retirement. Players like Nash, Garnett and Shaq are so well-recognized in North America that it makes sense to to try to make headway in the world’s largest economy. All three players signed with different upstart Chinese brands that are still based in China. Li-Ning opened a store in Portland, the hotbed of athletic gear, last year, but none of these brands have an NBA presence or endorsement roster like Nike, adidas or even Reebok. Why take the risk and leave Nike after so many years?

Nash's last game in Nike's? Photo Credit: Getty Images/Yahoo Sports

Sneaker website CounterKicks attained the following statement from Nike:

“We can confirm Steve Nash is no longer under contract with us. We had a great run with Steve and we wish him all the best. We’re extremely pleased to work with the NBA’s top players like Kobe, LeBron, Durant and Wade, who wear our basketball products, the most innovative in the game today.”

The statement seems like public relations speak for  “good luck but we really don’t need you”. Nike has the largest roster and arguably the best talent with Kobe and LeBron but also new young stars like Blake Griffin, whose meager endorsement contract will likely bring a large payday and extension for Blake and huge hype for another signature shoe next season for Nike Basketball. Nash is taking a risk, but he becomes the face of a brand instead of competing with so many dynamic players.

Photo credit: WorldsBestLogos

It’s curious that the Luyou, Li-Ning and ATNA logos all look reminiscent of the infamous Nike swoosh. At first glance, they look like something that you may find in a knockoff factory in China. Are the companies doing their own swoosh to be recognizable? Is it symbolism or just a copy cat tactic? Perhaps if their logo was something unique, like another Chinese basketball brand, Peak, they would stand out more in North American market. They run the risk of being grouped into the Nike knock off section on the sales floor. However, it does leave room for serious branding for the signature sneaker models, like with what Li-Ning did with Baron Davis. The production process of both the Asian brands and the American names like Nike are likely in the same or or neighbouring factories in China.The incredibly lucrative footwear counterfeit business has another brand to compete with and mimic.

Nash in China in 2009. Photo credit: BDL/Getty Images.

An interesting factor in this recent trend is that both Baron Davis and Steve Nash are represented by BDA Sports Management, an agency known for exposing their clients to a worldwide fan base, especially in China. BDA has a strong international roster of players including Yao Ming. It’s also somewhat common for BDA athletes to endorse companies that are new in the basketball footwear market like Brandon Jennings, who is Under Armour’s only NBA athlete and at the forefront of all their marketing campaigns. He also signed the contract while playing overseas in Rome, instead of going to college. Under Armour is an American brand that instead of being based in Portland or China, is based in Baltimore, Maryland and is well-known for their apparel, instead of a company like Luyou, which is unknown to North American NBA fans. Nash is Canadian with international roots and is known as the pride of the province of British Columbia. Vancouver has a significant Asian population so that could translate to marketing opportunities, events with the Chinese community and of course, more sales.

Photo credit: sports.qq.comz

What it will really come down for Nash is whether he can sell sneakers to both markets and if it performs well enough for Nash to play in. Luyou’s brand slogan is “I think I can” so perhaps the mantra can pay off. Looking at their current offerings in China, they do not seem to have designed basketball sneakers in the past – most lifestyle and casual running shoes. At the announcement in Beijing, the brand had Nash call in videophone and announced that there would be both a charity playground project called “Nash’s House” as well as a Nash logo competition. Luyou trotted out diverse models who wore new designs and preached a new vision and direction for the brand. While I do not fully trust the capabilities of Google translate, it seems that Luyou is re-launching in their own market with Nash as the centrepiece. It doesn’t seem that there was any plans for worldwide expansion but perhaps that will come later this season or during the All-Star game in Los Angeles. Technically and aesthetically I’m curious to see what the brand comes up with as their other shoe designs look dated and uninspired. Would you wear Luyou shoes? Perhaps only time and availability in all markets will tell. For now, I’m sticking to my Nike’s.

Photo credit: CounterKicks.com + Luyou

3 Comments

Filed under branding, endorsement, NBA, sports

Brett Favre is comfortable in Wrangler…for now.

Brett Favre is the everyman athlete, who at the age of forty-one, seems to have accomplished all he can in the game of football. His off-field conduct is very average joe, but with the recent sexual harassment allegations and photographic evidence involving former Jets’ sideline girl, Jenn Sterger, Favre is risking more than developing a bad reputation. Members of the media are comparing the alleged dirty text messages and voicemails to Tiger Woods’ and his many mistresses and extramarital sexual conduct. Brett’s alleged actions involve a colleague who felt uncomfortable with his advances, so the situation qualifies as sexual harassment, and not a consensual act. Is this Favre’s only transgression as a professional athlete and will his legacy now be a dirty old man and not a gritty, iron man quarterback? Favre’s image is of a simple, family man with a decent sense of humour in his endorsement deals (Wrangler, Mastercard, Sears, Prilosec) but will the public’s perception of Favre change for the worst? Should he continue to shill brands in his Southern drawl despite allegations?

A classic Brett Favre print advertisement. Photo credit: Wrangler Jeans.

During Monday Night Football on October 11th, Favre reached another milestone in his career: touchdown number five hundred. The broadcast team tried to focus on his on-field performance and not make any ill-conceived purple helmet remarks. However, stateside it was hard for viewers to concentrate on Brett Favre’s game as his television spots for Wrangler jeans were airing during almost every commercial break. Many thought it was a joke rather than bad timing. The one question all over Twtiter was whether Brett Favre will continue to stay comfortable in Wrangler indefinitely. Wranger presents itself as a company that’s simple, hardworking and family friendly. A cheating quarterback leaving scandalous voicemails and sending comprising naked photos to a younger woman while his wife recovers from cancer is not the best example of a role model. But how many Wrangler customers find Favre’s behaviour an issue? Does his target market care or can they relate? The coverage of Favre’s photos is so overblown but even in a sports newsroom where I work, most of my co-workers didn’t go looking for the pictures or wear Wrangler jeans. Also, since the photos could be of someone else, Favre is innocent until proven guilty.

Brett Favre sporting his #4 in Packers’ green and yellow.

The biggest determining factor in whether or not Favre stays in his Wrangler’s is how he chooses to respond to the allegations and media enquiries. As of now, Wrangler representatives are staying on sidelines but issued the following statement to Women’s Wear Daily, “We are following the story like everyone else. We are not making any major decisions on our marketing program until more information is available.” Wrangler is playing it smart. They don’t want to risk ruining the image of their brand with the new spokesmodel and marketing campaign. Favre continues as the face of the brand, because he is a well-known face and all-American brand. He still wears his original Packers’ colourway faded t-shirt in many of the advertisements as an example of how long he’s been a Wrangler man.

Once a jeans’ man…always a jeans’ man.

After the Monday Night Football game, Favre addressed the media, but made it clear he only wanted to discuss football. The best remedy for Favre is to apologize, move on and hopefully settle with both affected parties: his wife, Deana and Jenn Sterger. Whether or not he did it, he needs to make sure that he does not let it define his legacy by confronting it quickly, preferably quietly, and moving on. If Favre continues to ignore the situation, like Tiger did for so long, it will only add fuel to the fire and he has yet to confirm nor deny the allegations. Tiger’s sponsors did not know what to believe, so the uncertainty of Tiger and his play in the PGA, outweighed the product placement. Tiger was insincere and overly guarded in his press conference and while I dread another press conference from Favre; a teary, short and apologetic press conference in his Southern drawl could win fans and sponsors back. Favre needs to highlight his best attributes as an athlete and a man by being heartfelt, passionate, simply spoken and of course, emotional. He is the everyman gifted athlete, and in the modern-day many people can relate to an “aww shucks” moment with a mobile phone. If Deana Favre stands by her man, that will only help the Brett brand.

A moment in Favre infamy: the first retirement press conference.

I don’t expect Wrangler will officially announce a decision until after Favre addresses the situation and NFL commissioner Roger Goddell weigh in. The safest thing for Wrangler to do would be to decrease their television budget starting now, then re-air or even re-shoot new commercials once the sexual harassment situation and the Deadspin daily posts die down. After all, no rumor lasts forever. One silver lining is that Crocs, the now infamous footwear that Favre sports in the mobile phone photos, recently reached profits of a billion dollars. Perhaps he can drum up a new endorsement deal with the company or even a mobile phone company if Wrangler abandons Favre. However, as long as the public believes that Grandpa Brett has learnt his lesson, his endorsement deals will continue to be a success.

1 Comment

Filed under branding, endorsement, fashion, sports

Chris Bosh’s Complex (Magazine) Style

Chris Bosh is quickly becoming a publicity machine. Even before Bosh took his own talents to South Beach to form the new trio consisting of Dwyane Wade and LeBron James for the Miami Heat, he was everywhere. There were appearances on Entourage and late night talk shows, sitting court side at the NBA Finals and most recently, he’s been flexing his style muscle at New York’s Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week before training camp began.  He’s completely revamped his personal style, reflecting his new imagine in the press. Gone are the dreads, crazy baby momma and ill-fitting garments in his wardrobe. Now, Bosh is all about clean lines both in his hair and in his clothing as well as his petite new fiancé, Adrienne Williams. It’s as if when he was in Toronto, Bosh was a boy and now Miami (perhaps thanks to his teammates’ influence) has made him into a man.   

Chris Bosh and fiancé Adrienne Williams on HBO’s Entourage. Photo credit: Dime Mag/HBO.

Bosh is back on the fashion tip again, this time for Complex Magazine. He played model and muse for a  shoot with photographer Dania Graibe in Miami. Bosh has two outfits, one that’s all casual basketball gear in Heat red, black and white and the other is a more fashionable look ensemble better suited to off-day fun than on court play. No word when the shoot comes out, as Complex posts all their content online along with a monthly print edition of the magazine. Likely, the full shoot will début in the November issue once the season is underway. What do you think Bosh’s look? Should he keep up his new look and play model more often? Check out the video below and let me know what you think. 

 

3 Comments

Filed under branding, fashion, personal style, sports

Mariano Rivera Suits Back Up For Canali

Baseball, like fashion, is most important in the spring and fall. Spring marks the start of a new calendar year while fall brings a whole new set of layers, fabrics, trends and textures. It may not seem like the most natural fit, but there’s a strong movement towards using athletes for more than just athletic endorsement deals but as models for fashion’s biggest brands.

Mariano Rivera in Yankees' navy and grey for Canali's Spring/Summer 2010 campaign. Photo: Canali.

The Yankees lead the way as the baseball team with most ties to the fashion industry. Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez have graced the pages of GQ magazine as models, while DKNY  signed a multifaceted deal with the squad this season. The latest man in pinstripes to enter the fashion game is Mariano Rivera. Arguably one of the greatest closers to ever play the game, Rivera modelled for Italian menswear brand Canali for their spring/summer 2010 print advertising campaign.

Mariano Rivera in one of his looks for the Canali fall/winter 2010 ad campaign. Photo: Courtesy Photo, Source: WWD.com.

According to Women’s Wear Daily, Rivera pose for Canali for the fall/winter 2010 advertisements as well. The photographs feature Rivera wearing, of course, trademark Yankee colours, including a navy pinstripe two-button suit, a double-breasted cashmere coat and a gray cashmere-blend jacket. The ensembles are classic, refined and rich – much like the franchise that Rivera has often carried on his forty-year old back. Rivera is the first professional athlete Canali has cast for an advertising campaign. When Canali announced Rivera has a new face of the company in March 2010, they preached a mantra of contemporary elegance on their website and the reasoning behind signing athlete, “he decision to choose a sports star as testimonial for the Spring Summer 2010 campaign accentuates the close ties between Canali and the star system, both in Hollywood and elsewhere, where elegance and excellence, style and performance are shared values.” Apparently the previous campaign was so well received that both parties eagerly agreed to work together for another season.

What would Mariano wear? Photo: New York Times

No word yet how long the deal will continue for, but I’m sure Canali will stay interested as long as Rivera keeps the Yankees in the headlines. The advertisements will run in national as well as regional magazines and newspapers. I have to wonder though, what does Mo wear pre-game, as DKNY is the official outfitter of the Yankees but he poses for Canali. Can one man wear both an American and Italian fashion brand without setting of a style war? It’s hard to know, but it’s safe to say that Mariano’s set up with pinstripes for life, both on and off the field.

1 Comment

Filed under branding, endorsement, fashion, sports, Uncategorized