Brady steps out in UGG endorsement deal

By making Tom Brady the centerpiece of a new advertising

campaign, UGG is hoping to show its furry footware isn’t just for

teenage girls anymore.

Maybe they should have looked a little deeper into Brady’s

background.

The football icon has always been more of an iconoclast when it

comes to style, with choices that have turned him into the target

of some (mostly) good-natured ribbing in the locker room. The

two-time NFL Most Valuable Player was photographed for a men’s

magazine cradling a goat in his arms and caught at carnival in

Brazil sporting a ponytail – looks more in line with UGG’s old

demographic than the new one it is trying to court.

And then there’s the Justin Bieber haircut.

As one Twitterer said, ”Ugh, indeed.”

But the company, which actually started out making sheepskin

boots for men to wear after surfing, believes it has found the

right guy, calling the husband of supermodel Gisele Bundchen ”a

leader who is distinctive, authentic, and has effortless grace and

style.” In a television ad scheduled to debut during the Patriots

season-opener against the Miami Dolphins on Monday night, the

quarterback models a handful of men’s UGG shoes, boots and

slippers.

”Our goal is to introduce men to the UGG experience through

this campaign by pairing the rugged, masculine design sensibility

of our collection with the unique comfort you get only when you put

your foot inside our shoes and take a few steps,” UGG Australia

president Constance X. Rishwain said in a release.

The TV commercial called ”Steps” – a 60-second version was

released online in advance – has music from hip hop artist Mos Def

in the background while Brady walks, runs and drops back on the

sidewalk in a variety of UGG shoes. He does not speak, and his face

is rarely shown until the end of the commercial, when he stares

dimple-chinned into the camera from a football locker room.

It’s the first broadcast commercial for UGG, which is a division

of Deckers Outdoor Corporation. Corresponding print ads are

scheduled to run in a handful of men’s and sports publications, and

the campaign also includes online content and billboards and ”Tall

Walls” in Los Angeles, Boston and New York.

One ad near Madison Square Garden in Manhattan is about 10

stories high, featuring Brady, arms crossed, with jeans and a stern

look.

Brady has chosen to accept fewer endorsement opportunities than

other high-profile athletes like LeBron James or Tiger Woods. And

unlike rival Peyton Manning, who is as ubiquitous on NFL broadcasts

during the commercial breaks as he is during the game, Brady has

opted for smaller, targeted campaigns like Stetson cologne, Movado

watches and Audi.

When it comes to his new kicks, the three-time Super Bowl

champion is a good corporate soldier.

”It was always my favorite Christmas present to get,” the

company’s release quotes him as saying. ”I have been wearing the

UGG for a long time.”

Follow Jimmy Golen on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/jgolen