Converse this fall will introduce its Dallas Denim program, an apparel collection licensed by the National Football League and built around the Dallas Cowboys, the top-selling team in NFL-licensed merchandise.
The collection of western-style denimwear includes shirts, hats and outer garments. It ties into a new NFL effort to exploit the distinctive personalities of each of the league teams-whether they are derived from locale or style of play-to create new business opportunities in the licensed apparel arena.
Converse will unveil the collection during the Cowboys' annual Thanksgiving Day game, Nov. 23 against the Kansas City Chiefs, to be broadcast on NBC. Not only will a 30-second spot from Houston Effler Herstek Favat, Boston, tout the collection, but the Cowboys coaching staff will wear the clothing, as well. The merchandise will hit stores in November.
Converse inherited the NFL Pro Line license from Apex One, the financially troubled apparel and footwear marketer Converse purchased earlier this year. Through Apex, Converse is entering the NFL licensing fray on the heels of Reebok International, which will introduce its NFL products this fall as well. Ads from Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, have been on the air since June. Converse has rights to the Carolina Panthers, New York Giants and Cowboys; Reebok has the New Orleans Saints, San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks.
Their initial efforts are shaking up the industry with hipper designs and multimillion-dollar marketing support from top ad agencies.
Bob Goehrke, senior VP-marketing at Converse, said product designs and the Converse shooting star logo will be "television optic. People are going to take notice that Converse is a player in the National Football League. It's not going to be subtle."