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FILA STEPS UP SPENDING FOR HILL 3;$20 MILLION EFFORT IS LARGEST EVER FOR SHOE MARKETER

By Published on .

Fila USA, the footwear industry's No. 3 player, will launch its biggest ad campaign ever in October behind the Hill 3, the new line of basketball product endorsed by National Basketball Association star Grant Hill.

The campaign, estimated at over $20 million, will be called "No more Mr. Nice Guy." The ads winkingly suggest the affable star needs a bit of an edge.

FIRST $100+ SHOE

The Hill 3 line is also noteworthy because it features Fila's first shoe priced more than $100. It also boasts Fila's 2A support and cushioning technology, which will be integrated into all Fila product.

Fila is showing ambition and aggressiveness in its media and distribution strategies for the campaign, which kicks off Oct. 14 during ABC's "NFL Monday Night Football."

That's the marketer's first prime-time media buy on the Big 3 networks. The game promises to be one of the most-watched NFL games of the year, the Green Bay Packers vs. the San Francisco 49ers.

In the past, most of Fila's media budget has been spent on cable networks like MTV: Music Television and ESPN and, more recently, on sports programming in fringe dayparts on Fox.

THE FOCAL POINT

"Now we're trying to take our message to the suburbs and solidify our performance credentials. Grant is the focal point of that effort," said Peter DePasquale, senior VP-group management director at FCB/Leber Katz Partners, New York, Fila's agency.

Fila also has begun allocating Hill product to retailers, capping the amount of product in the marketplace, in order to manage demand. Unlike previous years, Fila won't offer key retail accounts exclusives on certain styles, nor will it execute co-op marketing programs with retailers.

At the outset, the campaign will be comprised of three commercials and several print executions in Sports Illustrated. The initial wave of advertising will run through late November, then return in February when a new wave of product will be introduced and the NBA season takes over the sports spotlight from the NFL.

The second stage might feature new creative, depending on the reaction to the first executions.

The fall creative will feature Bill Laimbeer, retired Detroit Pistons star, and George "The Animal" Steel, the infamous pro wrestler.

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