Kids Foot Locker sets fall campaign for private brands

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As retailers gear up for the big back-to-school push, Kids Foot Locker is toeing the line with a new campaign featuring three athletic shoe brands exclusive to its stores.

Three 30-second spots created by Geppetto Group, New York, bear the tagline "You game?" and will run on broadcast and cable TV in late July and August.

"We wanted the activity [in the ads] to be kid-friendly," said Chris McKee, Geppetto's chief creative director. "Kids look at adult shoe ads with older athletes and say, `I can't do that.' It has to be something you aspire to, and I think Kids Foot Locker is a place that understands that," Mr. McKee said.

The first spot, which breaks July 26 and focuses on the Reebok Blacktop, depicts a group of kids playing basketball as on-screen text draws big-league parallels to their playground game. A shot of a car carrying players is labeled "team bus," while pigeons perched on power lines are said to be in the "nosebleed seats" and a streetlight turns on for "overtime."

Noting that all the kids who appeared in the spot were between 8 and 13 years old, Mr. McKee said the ad makes on-court success seem attainable.

"We wanted to make sure to tap into what kids are really doing, and this kind of dramatization is a great way to do that," he said.

`CAPTAIN VELOCITY'

The campaign's second spot, which breaks Aug. 7, makes a more direct link between shoes and performance. In the ad, a superhero named Captain Velocity moves sluggishly through his breakfast and morning newspaper, only living up to his name once he laces up his Adidas Harmony shoes and runs off to answer a distress signal.

A third spot for the Nike Triple Double will debut in late August. Executed by Aardman Animators, the studio behind "Chicken Run," the ad will feature the same kind of clay animation as the popular feature film.

The company wouldn't disclose spending on the effort, but Kids Foot Locker was supported with $2.8 million in measured media last year, according to Competitive Media Reporting.

Although parents hold the purse strings, Mr. McKee said that the campaign is focused on appealing to kids and the aspirations attached to their shoes. "It's great for a kid to look at the ad and say, `I can do that.' I think it's very validating for them."

The TV spots will be supported by in-store displays and appear on ABC, the Cartoon Network, Fox Kids, Nickelodeon and the WB, as well as other networks.

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