SBD/August 14, 2012/Olympics

Fashion Forward: Michael Phelps Appearing In Louis Vuitton Ad Campaign

Phelps is appearing alongside Latynina in new Louis Vuitton ad campaign
U.S. Gold Medal-winning swimmer Michael Phelps has signed a deal to appear in the "latest Louis Vuitton Core Values campaign,” according to Tamara Abraham of the London DAILY MAIL. Phelps “stars alongside former Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina,” who prior to the London Games had held the distinction as the most decorated Olympian with 18 medals. Phelps now holds that title with 22. The caption beneath the ad is written in Italian but translates to, “Two extraordinary paths. The same fate.” The campaign was released at the same time as another image of Phelps, wearing “trunks and goggles in a bath, with an LV-monogrammed bag beside the tub.” Louis Vuitton indicated that the ad “is designed to look like it too is for” the fashion label, but said "it is not an official Louis Vuitton image." The official new advertisement is “the latest in an ongoing series, all shot by celebrated U.S. portrait photographer Annie Leibowitz” (London DAILY MAIL, 8/14). Octagon Managing Dir of Olympic & Action Sports Peter Carlise, who reps Phelps, said that his client's schedule is "booked for the next three months and includes both down time and business appointments." In Baltimore, Chris Korman noted Phelps is "planning a world tour that will involve promotions for many of his major sponsors," which include Speedo, Visa, Omega, Head & Shoulders, Subway, Under Armour, Hilton, HP, Master Spas, 505 Games, PureSport and Topps. Phelps will "headline Under Armour's continued push into China with several appearances there." He also will "be a part of Subway's marketing push in Baltimore, wearing Ravens colors" (Baltimore SUN, 8/12).

TRANSITIONING TO RETIREMENT: Phelps has stated his intentions to retire and Baker Street Advertisers Exec VP & Exec Creative Dir Bob Dorfman writes Phelps “dives into his greatest challenge: staying relevant with consumers while retired from competition.” Phelps is currently “earning around $5-7M a year” from his marketing partners and “should be able to maintain that level in the short term, and will likely focus on extending his current deals, expanding his brand globally, and making the transition from sportsman to businessman” (THE DAILY). The Baltimore SUN's Korman writes one of the “most interesting questions about Phelps -- it played out repeatedly in conversations I had with experts last week -- is how long he’ll stay relevant as an athletic pitchman.” Korman: “Will kids in six years be compelled by his name to buy Speedo or Under Armour gear?” (Baltimore SUN, 8/14). YAHOO SPORTS' Erick Galindo wrote, "He remains a marketable name and his association with the pool is the stuff of legends" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 8/13).
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