Super Bowl XLIX promises to be a collaborative fusion between fashion and football when the New England Patriots face the defending NFL champion Seattle Seahawks this Sunday. For the unacquainted, the Super Bowl gives brands and products a platform to achieve instant distinction; last year's game drew over 111 million viewers and resulted in more than 25 million tweets. So, its not surprising that America’s largest retailer of lingerie understands this marketing archetype well and wants to take part. In a new 30-second spot set to air late in the fourth quarter, Victoria’s Secret Angels Candice Swanepoel, Lily Aldridge, Karlie Kloss, Behati Prinsloo, Alessandra Ambrosio and Adriana Lima urge viewers “Don’t Drop the Ball” on Valentine’s Day, which is the company’s second-biggest sales period of the year behind Christmas.
If the lingerie giant's football-themed Super Bowl commercial (wings included) does not persuade you that fashion and football are the penultimate force to be reckoned with, consider the fact that Moschino designer Jeremy Scott will clothe singer Katy Perry for her performance during the Pepsi Super Bowl XLIX Halftime Show. Expect Scott, who counts artists such as Rihanna and Madonna among his loyal fans, to create tongue-in-cheek designs bursting with whimsy. The runway, nay stage, will be teeming with dazzling and irreverent costumes made exclusively for Perry. Indeed, fashion and football generates new forms of expression and ways to reflect our cultural oscillations.
In case that's not enough, catwalk queen Gisele Bündchen will take her seat at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona to support hubby and Patriot’s quarterback, Tom Brady, who has been fielding criticism over deflate-gate. Photographers and reporters habitually clamor for access to the world’s highest-paid supermodel, as she snaps selfies during games, helping to drive new audiences to the NFL with her social media savvy and game day fashion. As the face of Chanel No. 5 and cultivator of mega deals with Louis Vuitton and Bulgari, Gisele is emblematic of industry shifts in which models are rapidly expanding their brands and partnerships.
Bridging the gap between more mainstream fashion and football is a new brick-and-mortar store named the NFL SHOP at the Super Bowl, which peddles Super Bowl XLIX apparel, memorabilia and fashion-inspired looks for the sport's more fashion-conscious fans. Wares can also be purchased online at www.NFLShop.com.
The NFL SHOP at the Super Bowl opened January 24 at the Phoenix Convention Center and was filled with fashion insiders, from NFL Tweens/Juniors Apparel Brand Ambassador, Miranda Cosgroveto Creative Style Director for NFL Women’s Apparel, Phillip Bloch. It would behoove these two multi-billion dollar conglomerates to join forces more often to create a business model infused with a prêt-à-porter sensibility.
This is all to say that women, who make up around 45% of NFL watchers, are a prized demographic for the sport because they represent the league’s brightest opportunity for sustained growth. The consumer is king, and advertisers and sponsors must consider women’s preferences as females instrumentally drive consumer spending.
Style should be daring, and fashion and football should dare to go there by funding fashion research, expanding merchandising efforts and building strategic partnerships on and off the field. Whether fashion’s fierce power will impact the NFL in the long-term is anyone’s guess, but implementing processes to make the marriage work will establish both “teams” as commerce champions.
STACY SLOTNICK, Esq. holds a J.D., cum laude, 2008, from Touro Law Center and a B.A., summa cum laude, 2005, from the University of Massachusetts Amherst Commonwealth Honors College.