Who's got style? Jerry Rice, Steve Young and Deon Sanders do…according to Van Heusen.
Athletes, broadcasters and hall of famers (all three are members of the Pro Football HOF) are often perceived as mavens of style – both good and bad. So it’s a logical choice for a clothing company to align with athletes. But are these famous names of football's past the best choice?
I’d imagine that a brand like Van Heusen is trying to get a younger demographic. To achieve this, Van Heusen needs to make their style current and cool. It probably would have been a better bet to align with one young talent or NFL Sunday/Monday Night Football broadcaster, than these three who are pregame analysts at best. They look fine in the suits and have recognizable names, but their celebrity brands don't necessarily represent "cultivators of cool." What's worse is that Van Heusen is putting major dollars against this in media (TV/Partnerships with GQ and ESPN the Magazine/On-line/Contests), but it doesn't seem to be working. "Van Heusen Institute of Style" only has 14,208 likes on Facebook. Jerry Rice has over 178k likes, but only one post – not related to Van Heusen. Steve Young has 58K likes, but no posts at all (the content is fed by Wikipedia). And I don't think Deion Sanders even has a Facebook page.
Unfortunately it seems like Van Heusen's marketing department was looking for a good deal in Celebrity Endorsements – with retired football players not heavily involved in broadcasting. It doesn't seem like they were paying attention to brand strategy integration or activation through their social media outlets. We'll continue to follow, but so far this Celebrity Endorsement alignment seems like it’s out of style.