January 11, 2011: Wayne Gretzky, a member of the Pro Hockey Hall of Fame and holder of a plethora of NHL records, has signed a deal to appear in marketing for Skechers USA as part of the brand's "Comeback" campaign.
Gretzky, who retired from active play in 1999, will be featured in multi-media efforts throughout the year. His creative will follow along the lines of Skechers spokesmen Joe Montana, Karl Malone and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, retired Hall of Fame athletes in their respective sports who are using Shape-ups fitness footwear to instill talk about returning to active play. Financial terms of the deal with Gretzky were not disclosed.
According to Skechers, Gretzky's campaign will include TV, print, viral and outdoor through 2011. TV spots are scheduled to break this spring "on major networks." The "Comeback" campaign launched about a year ago and included a spot during Super Bowl XLIV with Montana, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Skechers is planning to run a spot during Super Bowl XLV Feb. 6 on Fox featuring reality star Kim Kardashian for the Shape-ups toning footwear line. On her Web site, she wrote regarding the storyline, "I have to break someone’s heart in the end . . . but you’ll have to wait to see why!" The alliance is a throwback to Skechers' marketing of the 1990s when marketing featured the likes of Briteny Spears and Christina Aguilera and was targeted mainly at tween and teen girls.
“We’re incredibly excited to be introducing yet another sports legend to our Shape-ups ‘Comeback’ roster — and it doesn’t get any more legendary in the hockey world than Wayne Gretzky,” Michael Greenberg, president of Skechers USA, Manhattan Beach, Calif., said in a statement regarding the athlete whose nickname was "The Great One." “Endorsements from Wayne and all the athletes in this campaign help us reach not only sports fans, but also new fitness-minded consumers who may be unfamiliar with the benefits of Shape-ups.”
Unlike Malone, who retired from the NBA as the second leading all-time scorer in league history behind Abdul-Jabbar, Gretzky would seem to have no real reason to return to the NHL. When he retired, he held some 40 regular-season records, 15 playoff records and six All-Star Game records. His No. 99 jersey has been retired by every team in the NHL. And also unlike Malone, whose teams never won an NBA title, Gretzky was a member of five NHL championship Stanley Cup winning squads, all with the Edmonton Oilers. From 2002-2009 he was head coach and head of hockey operations for the NHL's Phoenix Coyotes.
"Endorsements from Wayne and all the athletes in this campaign help us reach not only sports fans, but also new fitness-minded consumers."
However, as Gretzky, who turns 50 this month, offered, “I want everyone out there to know it’s never too late to make a comeback. Shape-ups are the perfect tool to help get your body back on track and after wearing Shape-ups, I feel great — from my legs to my core. I’m proud to stand behind the entire Shape-ups product line because of one simple fact — they really work.”