by Meghan Rodriguez
Women love him and men secretly envy him. He’s won two Super Bowl MVP awards and holds the NFL record for most touchdown passes in a single regular season. He’s married to a Brazilian supermodel and recently signed a contract extension that amounts to the NFL’s richest deal on an annual basis. Still don’t know who I’m talking about? Flip open a current men’s or sports magazine and you’ll most likely see New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in the latest UGG Australia ad campaign.
Tom Brady is no stranger to endorsement deals. In addition to his $20,007,280 paycheck last year, Brady raked in $10 million in endorsements. His yearly salary ranks him ninth on Sports Illustrated’s “50 highest-earning American athletes” list. Brady’s major brand sponsorships include Under Armour, Movado watches, Glaceau’s Smartwater, private jet company NetJets, Stetson cologne and Atari’s Backyard Football video game. Best known for its sheepskin boots marketed mostly to women, UGG Australia is on a mission to conquer the male market, and who better to do that than Tom Brady?
UGG Australia is a division of Deckers Outdoor Corporation, which originated in 1973 as a sandal brand geared toward male surfers. The company announced its partnership with Brady in a November 2010 press release highlighting that the company would be featuring Brady in its global multimedia marketing initiative beginning with the fall 2011 collection.
Deckers CEO Angel Martinez was quoted in the release: “This partnership marks a new season for UGGAustralia and Tom Brady is the ideal first endorser for the brand. He embodies the stylish casual attitude that is at the foundation of every product we make, and is as much a style icon off the field as he is a playmaker on it.”
The announcement caused mixed reactions among sports commentators. On ESPN’s SportsNation, Colin Cowherd said Brady is “hip and urban, he can sell anything to anybody.” But Michele Beadle responded with, “The only thing I have a problem with is [UGGs are] very girly. I know men are starting to wear them more, but I still equate UGGs with California girls in denim shorts.”
Brady haters definitely jumped on their latest opportunity to make fun of the quarterback. From his photo shoots for men’s magazines to his Justin Bieber-like haircut and even his cleft chin, Brady has been the target of many jokes over the years.
However, he continues to ignore his naysayers and embraced his latest endorsement: “I have worn and loved the UGG brand for a long time,” Brady said in the press release. “This collaboration gives me an opportunity to work with a leading global brand with a great history and a true vision for the future of its men’s collection. It’s an exciting time to be part of the UGG Australia team.”
UGG kicked off the marketing campaign in appropriate fashion, unveiling its first broadcast commercial during the nationally televised Monday Night Football game on September 12 between the Dolphins and the Patriots.
The commercial, called “Steps,” follows Brady throughout the steps of his life. According to a press release from the company, viewers follow Brady on his journey through changing seasons and environments that ultimately lead to the stadium, wearing a variety of UGG Men’s footwear along the way. The :30 second spot also launched across online digital media platforms including ESPN.com, CBS.com, Pandora, Hulu and Brightroll. Along with the online content and print ads, the campaign also includes billboards and “tall walls” in Los Angeles, Boston and New York.
The campaign launched just in time for the holiday shopping season. UGG boots are extremely popular presents among teenage girls, but Martinez and the rest of the Deckers organization hope the Brady endorsement will result in huge sales for the men’s line.
Guys who idolize Brady will buy UGGs because they’re now considered cool. Women will buy them for their guys because they’re already familiar with the brand; and let’s face it — what woman doesn’t find Tom Brady attractive? All jokes aside, I think this partnership between Brady and UGG Australia will prove to be extremely beneficial to both.