Faulk Gives Nike’s New Crosstrainer a Workout

Marshall Faulk, star running back of the St. Louis Rams, takes on the role of personal trainer from hell in a new campaign for Nike from Cole & Weber/Red Cell.

The effort touts the new Air Mission Extra football crosstrainer shoe, available exclusively at Nike retail partner Champs Sports. The Portland, Ore., shop has handled retail and co-branded work for Nike for four years.

The campaign broke last week and targets teenage boys. Spending was undisclosed.

A 30-second spot shows a would-be high school jock at a Champs store. When a salesperson says the Air Mission Extra is “great for training,” the kid responds, “Yeah, but I’m trying out for varsity.”

With that, the sales clerk summons Faulk, last year’s NFL MVP, who drags the boy from the store and starts him on a gruelling exercise regimen. They run on the beach, do aerobics, jump over logs while carrying cinder blocks and run uphill carrying logs.

The scene then shifts back to the store. The boy, who is now hooked up to oxygen, decides to buy the shoes.

Cole & Weber executive creative director Guy Seese said the ad attempts to show that if the shoes are “good enough for Marshall, they’re good enough for you.

“When you’re trying out for varsity sports at the high school level, you take yourself a little too seriously,” said Seese. “You work hard, and it’s harder to get a position, but you’re really just playing high school football.”

The TV spot has a two-week back-to-school run on national cable stations such as ESPN, ESPN2, Comedy Central, BET and MTV.

In-store collateral and magazine ads running in ESPN, Rolling Stone and Sports Illustrated show Faulk running up the stairs of a stadium, with a guy far behind him stopping to catch his breath. Copy reads, “The Air Mission Extra by Nike. Designed to keep up with Marshall Faulk. You, on the other hand, are not.”

Champs operates more than 650 mall-based stores.