Stay Fit, Wear Russell

WestWayne Crafts $20 Mil. TV, Print Push
ATLANTA–WestWayne of Atlanta launches its first advertising for Russell Athletic this week with a new television commercial that poses the question, “Are you an athlete?” before presenting some unconventional ways to answer yes.
The $20 million print and television branding campaign is the first extensive effort from the Alexander City, Ala.-based athletic wear supplier in four years. Ads suggest that everyone can be an athlete simply by staying fit. The work invites consumers to identify with individuals who enjoy daily activities, not those participating in professional sports or elite levels of competition.
In a series of quick-cut vignettes with slow-motion sequences, questions like “Are you an athlete if you play to lose?” accompany visuals of a father allowing his young son to dribble past him on the basketball court. Another query is: “What if your role model isn’t even an athlete,” as a daughter powerwalks with her elderly mother.
Throughout the commercials, the characters wear Russell activewear, casualwear or athletic uniforms.
As viewers are reminded that everyone can be an athlete, advertising shows Russell has been part of fit lifestyle choices throughout its 100-year history. “Russell Athletic . . . Made for the long run” is the tagline.
“We have boiled down our research and arrived at one strong, focused thought: long-lasting apparel,” said Barney Wachtel, Russell’s president and chief executive officer.
Beginning this Wednesday, ads will air on top-rated morning programming like The Today Show and popular Emmy-winning prime-time shows such as Frasier and NYPD Blue. Weekend sports broadcast buys are on the fall media schedule to coincide with college football games.
The integrated campaign will include television, print, interactive advertising, retail and point-of-sale executions and will run throughout 1999 and beyond. Ten print advertisements will begin appearing in August editions of magazines including Fitness, Self, Shape, People, Family Circle and Cooking Light.
Agency personnel earning campaign credits include chief creative officer Luke Sullivan, art director Tim Smith, senior copywriter Tina Traber, account supervisor Michelle Montgomery and director Nick Rafter.