Ecko Puts Its Street Cred on the Lines

NEW YORK Mark Ecko Enterprises continues to channel the values of urban life in two fall campaigns for its G-Unit and Ecko Unlimited apparel lines, both slated to break in August.

Rapper 50 Cent and his entourage star in a $1 million print campaign for the G-Unit Clothing Company, an independent venture operated by Ecko. “The 50th Brigade” will portray a day in the life at the fictional G-Unit training complex, where potential members, 7-15-year-old boys, must prove they’re worthy of joining the exclusive unit.

Three different scenarios, shot by in-house creative team photographer Anthony Mandler, will run in The Source, Vibe and 13 other magazines. In one ad, children and teens wearing G-Unit gear sit on the floor of a judo studio while their “sensei” (instructor) stares icily at the camera. “Discipline begins with focus,” proclaims the copy.

“This campaign was designed to reflect basic values like integrity, trust and courage that are persistent in urban culture,” said CEO Marc Ecko about the in-house-produced ads. “We like to incorporate themes that are central to our consumers’ lifestyles.”

The second campaign, for Ecko Unlimited, is an extension of the brand’s spring print push, “American Dreams: Dreamnasium II.” The New York-based company employs hip-hop celebrities like Fat Joe and Talib Kweli to continue promoting Ecko’s idea of the American dream.

One execution, “The Street That Ecko Built,” illustrates the theme that happiness is found only in the community state of mind and not through wealth or beauty. The in-house creative team spent $5 million on the campaign, with photography by Phil Mucci.

Nielsen Monitor-Plus reported the company spent about $5 million on advertising in 2003.

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