By Barry Janoff
August 16, 2012: Athletic retailer Foot Locker is launching a national multi-media campaign and is bringing a group of NBA stars along for the ride.
Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, James Harden, Kevin Love and Russell Westbrook are among the players who will be featured in the effort. It is the first campaign under the new "Approved" umbrella marketing push from lead agency BBDO.
All the players except for Bosh recently won a gold medal at the Summer Olympics in London as members of the USA Men's Basketball Team. Bosh, a member of the NBA champion Miami Heat, missed the Games due to injuries.
New York-based Foot Locker said the campaign would encompass TV, print, in-store and online, including social media destinations at which customers and fans would be able to interact with the NBA players. The Approved campaign will emphasize Foot Locker’s "commitment to providing customers with the premium footwear and apparel they can trust."
"If it’s at Foot Locker, it’s Approved,” according to Stacy Cunningham, Foot Locker evp-marketing, “At Foot Locker we know that our customer wants the best in style and performance so that they stand out with confidence, and that’s exactly what we are providing them. As an authority and source for top men’s athletic footwear and apparel, we pride ourselves on delivering the hottest sneakers and apparel with quality to match."
The campaign is anchored by three humorous TV spots. In "Tear Away," Westbrook accidentally squirts mustard on the new Foot Locker T-shirt and sweats being worn by his Oklahoma City Thunder teammate Harden. "My bad," says Westbrook. "With gear this fresh, I always have more than one," replies Harden, who tears off the stained garments to reveal a similar set of Foot Locker items.
For Westbrook, the challenge is on. He squirts Harden a second time, on purpose. Harden responds by again tearing off the stained T-shirt to reveal yet another Foot Locker item. A third squirt by Westbrook yields the same results from Harden.
Frustrated, Westbook squirts mustard on his teammate's full beard, which has become Harden's trademark. Harden seems irritated, but gets the last laugh when he pulls off the stained beard to reveal another beneath it.
In "The Melo's," Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks is playing a video game with a friend. "Nice kicks, man," Carmelo's friend says regarding Anthony's new Foot Locker basketball shoes. "Thanks," replies Carmelo. "I even hired some extra 'Melos' so I could wear all of my new Foot Locker gear at the same time."
Carmelo's friend is perplexed until he turns around to see four guys who look somewhat like Anthony, all wearing T-shirts, sweats, shorts and kicks from Foot Locker. Carmelo introduces them: "Melo 2. Melo 3. Melo 4. Melo 5." To show he's serious, Anthony eats a handful of chips and the other Melo's do likewise in synchronized unison.
In "Yacht," Chris Bosh is sitting by a huge pool when Westbrook floats by in an inflatable canoe. "What's with the canoe?" Bosh asks. "I just got this new stuff from Foot Locker and I'm obviously not going to get it wet," explains Westbrook.
Just then, Harden and Kevin Love of the Minnesota Timberwolves sail across the pool in an inflatable 40-foot yacht. When questioned by Bosh they, too, say they refuse to get their new Approved Foot Locker gear wet. "How long did it take to blow that up?" asks Bosh. "About six years," replies Love as they sail off.
(See all the spots here.)
“To me, the Approved campaign means that the style and pieces are stamped, they’re validated, they’re solidified by Foot Locker,” Carmelo Anthony said in a statement. “It’s that stamp of approval that you can only get at Foot Locker.”
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