By Barry Janoff
January 23, 2013: With the San Francisco 49ers returning to the Super Bowl, it makes sense that Niners Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana would be part of the Big Game.
Montana, who led the team to wins in Super Bowls XVI, XIX, XXIII and XXIV, will take a lead role in one of two commercials from Skechers USA. The other spot will pit a cheetah and a gazelle against a human wearing Skechers GOrun 2 performance running footwear.
Montana's spot will run during the second quarter of Super Bowl XLVI on Feb. 3. Montana has previously appeared in marketing as a spokesman for Skechers Relaxed Fit collection, including a voiceover in the company's rookie Super Bowl appearance in 2010.
According to Skechers, the first spot will use "humor and animals to illustrate the speed of Skechers GOrun 2 performance running footwear" and is scheduled to air during the two-minute warning of the first half.
The company has released a teaser spot, tagged "Man Vs. Cheetah: Designed for Speed." As we see a gazelle grazing, a voiceover says, "While spry and agile, the young gazelle is no match for the speedy and magnificent cheetah. However, outfit a human with a pair of Skechers GOrun 2 running shoes and you never know what might happen."
The teaser closes with the cheetah about to overtake the gazelle but a guy in Skechers about to overtake them both. (See the teaser here.)
Skechers will support its Super Bowl buy with Internet and social media, including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Skechers spoke about its appearance in Super Bowl XLVI, in which Mark Cuban starred alongside Mr. Quiggly. The French Bulldog inspired a cottage industry and, according to Skechers, became a "media darling and [brought] global recognition to Skechers Performance footwear."
Skechers did not say whether or not the pooch would make a guest appearance this year, possibly leaving the door open for a surprise role.
This will mark Skechers fourth consecutive Super Bowl appearance. Montana helped the company to launch its fitness division during Super Bowl XLIV, and Kim Kardashian appeared in a steamy spot during Super Bowl XLV.
Thirty-second commercials during Super Bowl XLVI on CBS averaged $3.8 million, with some spots gong for $4 million, according to the network.
Last year, Skechers agreed to pay the Federal Trade Commission $50 million to settle charges that the company "deceived consumers by making unfounded claims that Shape-ups would help people lose weight, and strengthen and tone their buttocks, legs and abdominal muscles."
The FTC also accused Skechers or "falsely representing that clinical studies backed up the claims."
The misrepresented claims came in TV, print and Internet advertising. According to the FTC, that included an extensive campaign featuring Kim Kardashian, highlighted by a TV spot that aired during Super Bowl XLV in which she traded her trainer for a pair of Shape-ups.
Skechers' Shape-ups "Get Back In The Game" marketing featured Montana, Karl Malone, Wayne Gretzky, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Brooke Burke. A Skechers commercial that aired during Super Bowl XLIV featured Montana's voice but not his image.