By Barry Janoff
November 16, 2016: As the holidays approach, retailer Foot Locker is rolling out marketing to support the fifth year of its "The Week of Greatness," highlighting its new releases in sports footwear and apparel as well as sales and specials.
The multi-media campaign is anchored by a series of humorous TV spots starring, respectively, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady — who gets to parody his involvement in ‘deflate-gate” — Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks, Kyrie Irving from the defending NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers, Grammy nominated musician Ja Rule; and, for Foot Locker Europe, two of the top players in soccer: Gareth Bale from Real Madrid (and the Welsh National Team) and Anthony Martial from Manchester United (and the French National Team).
The effort, under the brand’s umbrella "Foot Locker. Approved." campaign, also includes Internet, social media and in-store. It will run into January across broadcast and cable networks.
Foot Locker said it pumped up the volume this year to celebrate the fifth anniversary of its Week of Greatness, which in previous years has featured spots featuring such athletes as Stephen Curry, Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Tim Duncan and Manny Pacquiao.
"Celebrating our fifth 'Week of Greatness,' with hilarious anecdotes of greatness from the likes of Tom Brady, Carmelo Anthony, Ja Rule, Kyrie Irving and more is really special," Jake Jacobs, evp and CEO for Foot Locker North America, said in a statement. "This is an event that our customers truly look forward to and we’re proud to have grown the campaign over the years."
In his spot, "Week of Greatness with Tom Brady," the quarterback regurgitates deflate-gate, which traces back to what were called "illegal under-inflated footballs" used by Brady and the Patriots in their 45-7 win over the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC championship game on Jan. 18, 2015. After months of litigation it resulted in Brady being suspended for the first four games of the 2016 season.
Two guys holding bags of Foot Locker goods walk into a diner and wonder, "How is it possible that Foot Locker’s Week of Greatness keeps getting better after all these years. Kind of maked you wonder what Foot Locker has been up to."
Unknown to them, Brady is sitting at the counter. "That’s an unfortunate mindset you’ve got there," he says calmly before getting more and more agitated. "Just because something is great year after year doesn’t mean that anything is going on. Why can’t some things just be great?!"
Brandy is now in full pissed-off mode. "It starts with questions. Then questions turn into assumptions. And assumptions turn into vacations. So why would you punish the Week of Greatness for something that never happened?!"
In his spot, Carmelo Anthony finds that even during The Week of Greatness, it’s hard to please some critics.
Anthony is seen in a gym, where he runs into two guys who have been shopping in Foot Locker. "Foot Locker," he says to them when he sees their purchases. "The Week of Greatness is back for Year Five," says one of the guys. "You been there?" "Not yet,” says Anthony, "but I plan on it."
"You don’t seem too urgent," one of the guys observes. "The window for greatness closes fast."
"I’ve experienced my fair share of greatness," Anthony says.
“You’re definitely really good," replies one of the guys. "But greatness . . . "
An offended Anthony then lists his achievements, but finds the pair are hard to please.
"I’m a nine-time All-Star," he begins. "That’s a popularity contest," they reply.
"I won a national championship in college (with Syracuse)." "That doesn’t really count."
"I won three gold medals (in the Summer Olympics with the U.S. National Team)." "Against like, Peru."
Anthony then finds out the the two guys "spend a lot of time posting comments on the Internet."
According to Anthony, "Foot Locker always has hysterical spots with athletes and celebs making fun of themselves. I’m in good company. I have high expectations for myself and am very proud of my accomplishments, but it’s only healthy to laugh at yourself now and then."
Ja Rule also finds that, like greatness, fame is fleeting. In his spot, "Ja Ride," we see him driving a high-end SUV and talking with three men who have been shopping in Foot Locker. When they comment on how The Week of Greatness is in its fifth year, Ja Rule says, "You can’t take sustained greatness for granted. Hold on to greatness because you can lose it, just like that." The twist here is that Ja Rule has been hired by the others as an Uber-type driver working for Ja Ride.
Irving touts Kids Foot Locker in his spot, "Video Game," in which a kid is scoring major points playing as Kyrie in NBA2K17 on his phone. Irving is also playing a game, but with much less success, based on an app in which the kid’s life can be controlled. "It’s hard being you," Irving says to the kid as the game screen shows him spilling his lunch and tripping as he runs toward a school bus.
According to Irving, "I always look forward to the Week of Greatness. "Having the opportunity to be a part of it, working with a great group of kids and showcasing a new Kyrie2 colorway is exciting."
Lead agency for North America creative is BBDO, New York.
In a spot for Foot Locker Europe, Bale and Martial execute trick shots and perform athletic skills wearing footwear from Foot Locker, but then break the Internet when they take a selfie together.
To celebrate The Week of Greatness, Foot Locker has also teamed up with online speciality pin shop PinTrill to create an exclusive, limited-edition pin pack to commemorate five years of the event. According to Foot Locker, customers who purchase Week of Greatness products in select cities will have gift-with-purchase opportunities to receive one of a limted-edition of 500 pin packs.
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