Yes, Babe Ruth used to endorse the Jockey brand, but there’s another reason his image appears in a new ad for Jockey Sport underwear that breaks today.
You see, beyond his talents as a home run hitter, the Babe was a man’s man, known to enjoy his hot dogs and social life as much as the regular guys that Jockey is targeting in its new “Get real” campaign from NSG/SWAT. So Ruth’s cameo in the campaign’s initial TV ad works strategically as well as historically.
“He played right into the real athlete positioning,” said Dustin Cohn, chief marketing officer at Jockey in Kenosha, Wis. “It wasn’t just a celebrity professional athlete. It was a guy who was at the top of his game but was a real guy.”
Ah, but the Babe takes up but a few seconds in an 30-second ad that mainly focuses on modern day sports men in sweaty settings: a weight room, a basketball court and a soccer field. Those guys represent the 25- to 39-year-olds that Jockey hopes will buy a new line of underwear that dries fast and resists odor.
While the TV ad is hard-driving and macho—with quick cuts and shots of the product being tested in a biometrics lab—print ads use humor to get their points across. One print execution features an image of two guys playing one-on-one basketball under the headline, “Smell like victory. Not your friend Victor.”
The campaign, which also includes digital ads and online video, represents NSG/SWAT's first advertising work for Jockey, which uses agencies on a project basis. Cohn greenlit the effort after the New York shop, which is led by Richard Kirshenbaum, Troy Lumpkin and Miles Skinner, developed an in-store presentation of Jockey Sport for retailers about a year ago.
Another Jockey agency, Coyne PR, is handling social outreach for “Get real,” distributing samples of the new underwear to bloggers and influential amateur athletes via health clubs and recreational sports leagues, according to Cohn. The initial focus is on markets such as New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Miami.
While Jockey’s past media spending has been relatively modest—about $8 million last year, up from less than $5 million in 2011, according to Nielsen—spending behind the new ads represents a “significant step up” and the most support in about a decade, Cohn said. That said, he declined to reveal the budget behind for effort, which launches this week and will have a second phase in the fall.