SBJ/20090727/This Week's News

No prank: Reebok readies training camp ads

NFL training camps open this week and lead on-field licensee Reebok was finishing a new NFL apparel campaign last week that celebrates an ancient training camp ritual — pulling pranks on rookies.

Looking to cement its NFL ties and push sales of its Speedwick shirts with NFL logos, Reebok is prepping a “Lighter Side of Training Camp” ad campaign, which will have six to eight spots.

Knowshon Moreno is among the NFL
players appearing in the campaign.

In them, rookies will be involved in training-camp pranks, from the tradition of having to stand and sing their school’s fight song to being forced to look for a veteran’s lost contact lens, which actually doesn’t exist. Another ad has a rookie’s cell phone incessantly ringing from people making inquiries about buying his car — of course, the rookie was unaware his car was for sale.

“NFL training camp is a time of year we want to own, and we thought taking a light look at it was the right way to make it mean more to more people,” said Kenny Gamble, vice president and general manager of Reebok’s sports licensed division. “We also think showing realistic training camp scenes like these ties back well to the authenticity we’re trying to show with our brand.”

Denver Broncos rookie running back Knowshon Moreno is doing his first ad for Reebok in the campaign, which should break next month. Other NFL athletes in the spots are New York Giants Eli Manning, Kenny Phillips and Domenik Hixon, and New York Jets Leon Washington, Nick Mangold, Dustin Keller, Thomas Jones and Jerricho Cotchery.

The $28 Speedwick shirts combine the wicking abilities of Reebok’s PlayDry fabric with an antimicrobial technology. For the first time, this year the T-shirts are available in a retro gray look.

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