SBJ/January 28-February 3, 2013/Mareketing and Sponsorship

High Life giving And1 another shot

Street basketball brand And1 is being relaunched by one of its original apparel licensees, which hopes to restore the reputation the brand once held as the definitive grassroots basketball trademark.

New York-based High Life Apparel, which owns a stable of sports apparel brands, purchased And1 late last year and is planning a renaissance with a full line of basketball sneakers and apparel. There also will be off-court lifestyle apparel, like fleece cargo pants, with new product likely to be introduced this spring.

Founded in 1993, And1 was sold in 2005 to American Sporting Goods, which subsequently sold it to Brown Shoe Co. in early 2011. The brand languished under that ownership.

On its 20th anniversary, the And1 line will be relaunched by its new owner.
“We’d been trying to buy the And1 brand for years,” said High Life managing director Maurice Levy. His company had a longtime connection to And1 and he now hopes to resuscitate the last athletic apparel brand before Under Armour to steal some of Nike’s cachet among a youthful consumer base. “Nobody knew the potential like we did and still do,” he said.

Levy’s notes that High Life employs some of the original And1 artists and designers, including those who developed And1’s well-known “trash talk” T-shirts, which featured such lines as “Your game’s as ugly as your girl.” The new And1 is hoping to relaunch those “trash Ts.”

Meanwhile, a Twitter account called “Old And1 T-Shirt,” @And1Tshirt, had nearly 1,000 followers as of late last week. (The site carried a note that it is “NOT affiliated with And1 the company.”)

This year marks And1’s 20th anniversary, and the brand’s marketing is being directed by Catch, New York. A revival of the And1 Mix Tape Tour, rechristened as the And1 Live Tour, is planned. The brand has one NBA player, Lance Stephenson of the Indiana Pacers, under contact, while 5-foot-5 dunker Porter Mayberry is also signed and will be joined by other “ballers” for three games in Houston next month during NBA All-Star Weekend.

A print and digital campaign is being done by Catch, as well.

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