SBD/Issue 56/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

Can Tom Brady's Endorsement Make UGG Brand Seem More Manly?

Brady's Association With UGGs Could
Increase Brand's Credibility With Men

Patriots QB Tom Brady's sponsorship of UGG brand for men “could be the real test of [his] manhood and star appeal,” according to Donna Goodison of the BOSTON HERALD. Deckers Outdoor hopes that the endorsement will “convince the masses that the UGG brand -- largely viewed as a women’s shoe brand epitomized by its ubiquitous and schlumpy sheepskin boots -- is fashionable and macho enough for men.” UGG sales “hit a record $711.8 million last year,” and Piper Jaffray analyst Jeff Klinefelter estimates that “men’s and kid’s shoes total 10 percent or less of those sales.” Klinefelter said that leveraging Brady’s “status gives its underdeveloped men’s line instant credibility.” Klinefelter: “It seems to be a very good fit in terms of the casual, classic but aspirational position of the brand. There’s certainly something aspirational about the Brady brand." But Boston-area PR exec Arika Beaudry said, “Nothin’ manly about a man in UGGs. And Tom is over-saturating himself with endorsements, so this whole marketing deal makes me lose even more interest in the brand” (BOSTON HERALD, 12/1). CNBC's Jim Cramer said, "What could happen by going to Zappo's and going to Nordstroms, you are going to see numbers dramatically raised on Deckers." Cramer said guys are "going to buy these and women are going to go online and buy them for guys because they're very familiar with this brand." CNBC's Erin Burnett said, "The most recent fads in the land of shoes have been ugly shoes: Crocs, UGGs." Cramer: "They're not ugly! Why would Brady endorse something ugly? Even guys know how good-looking Brady is. No man-love thing, but I mean, like, Brady is like a cool guy" ("Street Signs," CNBC, 11/30).

TRYING TO CHANGE PERCEPTION: ESPN's Colin Cowherd said Brady is "hip and urban, he can sell anything to anybody." But ESPN's Michelle Beadle said, "The only thing I have a problem with is they're very girly. I know men are starting to wear them more, but I still equate UGGs with California girls in denim shorts" ("SportsNation," ESPN2, 11/30). Saints QB Drew Brees yesterday was a guest on CNBC’s “Power Lunch” and host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera asked him, “If UGG boots had come to you and asked you to do an endorsement, would you have said yes or are you more of a man than Tom Brady?” After Brees dodged answering the question, Caruso-Cabrera said, “That’s a pretty girly move to endorse UGG boots” (“Power Lunch,” CNBC, 11/30). But Dallas Morning News columnist Tim Cowlishaw said, "I've had my daughter's Christmas list before. She has UGG boots on there. I'm like, 'What are those?' Now I'm going to know -- those are the boots Tom is advertising. This works to some extent" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 11/30).

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