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Foot Locker calls on Russell Westbrook for digital brand spot

Foot Locker, known for its offbeat brand spots, has recruited NBA MVP favorite Russell Westbrook to wax poetic on a few of his most unconventional stats for a mobile-optimized video to promote the release of the latest the Air Jordan XXXI models.

The brand spot, ?Stats,? is the lead commercial for the athletic wear retailer?s February Brings its Best campaign, which will  highlights the latest product and gear releases hitting stores with a special emphasis on Jordan Brand (who sponsors Mr. Westbrook). The video was created by storied advertising agency BBDO, and launched digitally yesterday, which precedes tomorrow?s broadcast debut.

?This campaign is a commercial in the most classic sense; on a fundamental level, it's hardly different than an old-fashioned broadcast TV commercial,? said James McNally, director of digital strategy at TDT, New York. ?Does the spot need some social call-to-action, like a call for UGC? 

?Not necessarily; that can be a great tactic, but it's not the case that simply adding a 'post some content with a certain hashtag' call somehow ensures greater engagement or conversion. Sometimes a commercial is just a commercial, and for mass-market brands like Foot Locker, that's fine.?

February Brings its Best
In the spot, Mr. Westbrook bumps into a fan in a hotel lounge while wearing Jordan gear. After sharing that his fresh gear is from Foot Locker, Westbrook is complimented on his impressive streak of triple-doubles on the court.

Mr. Westbrook then rattles off many unique stats, including bragging about creating ?two times more parental neglect than any other player? and claims to have kept Vine alive ?for an additional 7.4 months? through his explosive highlights.

"Two times more parental neglect than any other player"

However, he is stopped short of claiming the title of ?the all-time greatest ?Russell? in league history? by NBA legend Bill Russell, who makes a quick cameo toward the end. Any controversy over whether the honor is bestowed on a forename/surname basis is ignored for the sake of brevity. 

?As one of the NBA's most fashion-forward players, Westbrook wields major influence among core basketball fans, and those who are follow basketball more for it's cultural appeal ? Westbrook is both a star player, and a star,? Mr. McNally said. ?How well influencers do on mobile? My response would be, ?as opposed to what?? 

?There are certainly influencer campaigns that happen outside of mobile (TV/movie integrations, desktop YouTube, outdoor advertising, etc.) but when we talk about the modern ?influencer,? we're predominantly talking about personalities and content that is produced for, and consumed on, mobile devices.?

Apparel marketing
Apparel retailers tend to hew towards a more traditional marketing approach when it comes to creating campaigns; attention-grabbing brand videos are the bread-and-butter.

The spot is in anticipation of Jordan brand releases at the retailer

Last year, Foot Locker and competitor Finish Line ran concurrent campaigns, both leveraging mobile-optimized video while pulling from different sources to find content (see story). 

And at the end of high school football season last year, Russell Athletic released a commercial that provided coaches around the country the opportunity to thank their outgoing seniors, the culmination of a month-long digital campaign (see story). 

?This campaign is about brand positioning and emphasizing that Foot Locker is a go-to retailer for hot sneaker releases,? Mr. McNally said. ?The sneaker world is a capricious and dedicated subculture ? its fans already know exactly when and where anticipated new sneaker releases will be available. 

?Lists of products, prices, and release dates can be found all over the Web and the purpose of this spot is to put Foot Locker top-of-mind, not remind anyone about an specific sneaker release. Its impact on revenue can't and shouldn't be gauged against a ?big sale? type commercial: This is brand awareness and positioning, and Foot Locker can use other tools and content to drive specific purchase objectives.?