WestWayne Sizes Up Buyers for Russell

ATLANTA Russell Athletic is set to introduce a new campaign under the tagline “Are you Russell material?” this month.

The effort, from Atlanta’s WestWayne, mixes print in Sports Illustrated, Men’s Fitness, Shape and trade magazines with interactive ads on ESPN.com, CNNSI.com and Yahoo! Sports. Additional marketing includes signage as well as ads in Major League Baseball and college game programs.

A budget was not disclosed. Spending for the brand has been shrinking steadily. In 2001, the Atlanta company spent $7 million, but only $2 million from January to November 2002, per CMR. Spending for the Jerzees and CrossCreek brands, which was $5 million in 2001, was nonexistent in 2002.

Work featuring men’s and women’s NCAA basketball teams will tie in with the group’s season-ending tournaments. Copy under action shots of players states, “Yesterday’s practice drill just made tomorrow’s sports section.”

Another print ad, to appear during the professional baseball season, shows a man lifting weights. “How much practice does it take to lift a thirty-four ounce baseball bat?” is the accompanying caption.

The marketing plan seeks to leverage Russell Athletic’s 100-year history in sports while establishing an emotional connection with consumers, according to Rod McGeachy, client vice president of marketing.