Ingalls' first campaign for Apollo Eye Gear gives new meaning to the phrase "eye popping."
Ghoulish photographs of sports stars such as Ken Griffey Jr. and Alexi Lalas are featured in the ads. The familiar faces appear elongated and strangely distorted; beards and sweaty pores are magnified. Most noticeably, their eyeballs are replaced by product information rendered in tiny black type.
"We liked what happened when we gouged out the athletes' eyes," said Ingalls creative director Steve Bautista. "It's a product introduction into a crowded category. We wanted to do something different" to reach sports enthusiasts familiar with competing brands such as Ray-Ban, Maui and Oakley.
Spending was not disclosed.
Sara Whalen, one of the stars of the U.S. Women's World Cup soccer team, was recently signed as an endorser and may also appear in ads, said Michael Burkette, vice president of sales and marketing at Apollo. Introducing new stars in ads at regular intervals, in the style of the long-running "Got Milk" campaign, is an option, he said.
Ingalls was tapped without a formal review by Apollo president Devin Berger, who worked with the Boston shop in the early '90s when she held senior marketing posts at Converse, a former Ingalls client.
"They just came up with this breakthrough concept," said Berger, who has also served as president of Paris-based sportswear concern Le Coq Sportif.
Ads break in fall issues of ESPN The Magazine, Men's Journal and elsewhere and have been adapted for point-of-purchase displays. Ingalls handles media as well.
Formed earlier this year, Apollo is based in Needham, Mass.