Coming To a Foot Locker Near You

Mary J.Blige launches new record wearing Reebok

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%%STORYIMAGE_LEFT%% Regarded by many as the queen of hip-hop infused R&B, Mary J. Blige is partnering with Reebok and its retail partner Lady Foot Locker in a multi-faceted co-branding program.

Reebok and Lady Foot Locker will be leveraging the star power of Blige, who is also looking for corporate support to launch her new CD entitled "Love and Life," which comes out on Interscope Geffen A&M Records during the last week of August.

The singer and her new music will appear in a new :30 commercial for the Lady Foot Locker "Back-to-school campaign" from New York creative boutique AKA Advertising, where she will be sporting the Reebok Classic sneaker. There will also be point-of-sale material of Blige at Lady Foot Locker stores, which has recently targeted a more youthful audience.

%%PULLQUOTE_RIGHT%% "We have this really fun, cool creative that we feel really positions Lady Foot Locker and Reebok in a way that communicates energy and vitality," said Stacy Cunningham, senior VP-marketing at Foot Locker Inc. "Mary J. Blige has this energy and vitality."

In addition, Blige's music video, in which Reebok is integrated, as well as the TV commercial, will run throughout the remainder of the year on the in-store TV screens at 1,500 Foot Locker outlets.

The deal was concocted by Davie-Brown Entertainment, Reebok's entertainment marketing shop, and The Firm, Blige's Beverly Hills-based management company.

"It's a great example of how branding can work between the [record] label, the corporate sponsor and the artist," said Constance Schwartz, VP-strategic marketing at The Firm. "Mary J. Blige stayed true to herself. The campaign promoted who she is and she's not selling something that she's not."

Blige's affinity for Reebok is strong enough that she has agreed to allow the Canton, Mass.-based company to market a sweat suit "inspired by the diva." The sweat suit, due out in early 2004, is just the latest example of Reebok's strategy of leveraging famous entertainers by slapping their names on their latest products. Currently Reebok is launching the exclusive Jay-Z signature shoe called the S.Carter Collection (the rapper's real name is Shawn Carter).

There is also an option on the table for Reebok to sponsor Blige's 2004 tour as a part of the deal.

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