Marketing Plays: Express Expands Collegiate Athlete Style Ambassador Program + More News

See all the season’s biggest marketing moves, from ad campaigns and digital initiatives to major ambassador partnerships. Got some news to share? Send it to web@footwearnews.com.

Feb. 1, 2023: Express is expanding its collegiate athlete style ambassador program ahead of college basketball’s biggest month. Expanding beyond its headquarter city of Columbus, Ohio, the brand will bring on Jahvon Quinerly (Alabama), Justice Sueing (Ohio), Keyonte George (Texas) and Nick Smith Jr. (Arkansas) for each of the athlete’s first fashion deals. The social-first campaign will be seen across the brand’s owned channels, talent channels and paid media. George, Quinerly, Smith Jr. and Sueing will each take to Instagram and TikTok starting this month and continuing through March to highlight their style tips that create confidence for them off the court. Express will also style these new ambassadors in its spring ‘23 collection for their collegiate events and appearances throughout the season.

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From top to bottom: Nick Smith Jr., Justice Sueing, Keyonte George and Jahvon Quinerly. - Credit: Courtesy of Express
From top to bottom: Nick Smith Jr., Justice Sueing, Keyonte George and Jahvon Quinerly. - Credit: Courtesy of Express

Courtesy of Express

Jan. 23, 2023: On running is launching a global running event series called “On Track Nights,” which will span three continents and five cities. The series will kick off in May 2023 and will allow professional and semi-pro runners to compete for World Championship and Olympic qualifying points in community-focused and entertainment-driven races. “We know that race atmosphere is pivotal to performance, so we want to bring the fans and running community closer to the track and have them be part of the athlete’s journey to major championships,” said On co-founder Olivier Bernhard.

Jan. 17, 2023: K-Swiss has unveiled its athlete roster for the 2023 tennis season. The brand will continue its multiyear contracts with British player Cameron Norrie (ranked No. 12 by the ATF) and Russia’s Liudmila Samsonova (ranked No. 19 by the WTA). Other partners for the season include Allaksandra Sasnovich, Yulia PutintsevaLauren DavisRebecca MarinoAnastasia GasanovaLouisa ChiricoPedro CachinTomas EtcheverryMitchell Kreuger and Marcos Giron. “Building upon our success in 2022, we are excited to more than double our player roster and drive brand visibility to our new product line that our athletes will be wearing at the Australian Open,” David Malinowski, director of tennis for K-Swiss, said in a statement.

Jan. 17, 2023: In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, retailer Snipes tapped poet Roya Marsh to reimagine the late civil rights icon’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Marsh — who is a Bronx, N.Y., native — is an educator, an activist and the author of the poetry book “Daylight.” Also, Marsh is co-founder of the Bronx Poet Laureate, a PEN America Emerging Voices mentor and the awardee of the 2021 Lotos Foundation prize for poetry.

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Jan. 12, 2023: Wilson Sporting Goods Co. has entered into a partnership with professional tennis player Marta Kostyuk. Kostyuk, according to the brand, is its first complete Wilson ambassador “across rackets, footwear and clothing.” The partnership, Wilson said in a statement, launches in tandem with its latest tennis sportswear collection. The line is available in both women’s and men’s sizing, and can be shopped now via Wilson.com. “Wilson is committed to equipping athletes with all they need to succeed on and off the court, and there is nobody better to join forces with than Marta Kostyuk,” Jason Collins, global GM of Wilson Racquet Sports, said in a statement. “Marta has an extremely sharp game, and we look forward to not only expanding Wilson’s impact in the sport of tennis, but also supporting her as she grows her competitive edge and personal brand.”

Jan. 11, 2023: New Balance has signed rising NBA star Tyrese Maxey of the Philadelphia 76ers. Maxey is the latest pro basketball player to join New Balance’s already stacked roster that includes Kawhi Leonard, Jamal Murray, Zach LaVine and Dejounte Murray. “As one of the most talented young players in the league, we’re excited to welcome Tyrese to the New Balance family,” New Balance head of global sports marketing — basketball Naveen Lokesh said in a statement. “He embodies the charisma and personality of the New Balance brand. We are excited to start working with Tyrese to further highlight his style in the game and his desire to inspire the next generation, both on and off the court.”

Jan. 11, 2023: Red Wing Heritage has teamed up with local Minneapolis non-profit youth art and design education center Juxtaposition Arts (JXTA) on its latest campaign. Specifically spotlighting art, education and a passion for craft, this collaboration aim to bring real world learning experience for student apprentices, giving them the opportunity to showcase their unique interpretation of a 70-year-old boot: the Red Wing Heritage Classic Moc. A small-batch collection of the students’ custom Moc and complementary sweatshirts will be sold on shop.juxtapositionarts.org starting Jan. 18, with all proceeds going back to the JXTA educational program to help create a space for artists and creators to thrive in their craft. To further bring this campaign to life, Red Wing Heritage will be replacing ads with art, covering local billboards across Minneapolis with original artwork made by JXTA students, alumni and friends.

Credit: Courtesy of Red Wing
Credit: Courtesy of Red Wing

Courtesy of Red Wing

Marketing Initiatives from 2022

Dec. 12, 2022: Saysh has tapped Bala co-founder Natalie Holloway as the new face of its Maternity Returns Policy. Formerly helmed by Saysh co-founder Allyson Felix, the policy offers Saysh customers who have previously purchased a pair of Saysh Ones a complimentary pair, in their new size, should the customer experience a change in foot size upon becoming pregnant. To celebrate the partnership, Saysh and Holloway, who is pregnant with her second child, gathered a group of inspiring female founders and entrepreneurs for an intimate dinner at Alta Adams in Los Angeles. Guests included Sabeena Ladha of Deux, Terri Rockovich of Jinx, Annabel Lawlee of Breeze, Luana Arantes of Swoon Homes, Sharon Pack of Insert Name Here, Allyson and Wes Felix and more. As Saysh’s Maternity Returns Policy evolves to include new representation and offerings, the brand also announces a partnership with Cadenshae, an activewear brand for mothers, to provide a special gift to those customers who opt to exchange their shoes through the policy.

Natalie Holloway - Credit: Wes Felix for Saysh
Natalie Holloway - Credit: Wes Felix for Saysh

Wes Felix for Saysh

Nov. 10, 2022: Thom Browne returned to his alma mater The University of Notre Dame for his annual football game, a tradition the designer has upheld since 2014. Held on the south quad of university’s campus, the was casted through an open call video submission, students expressed their interest in being a part of the game. In grey, white, and khaki, the 2022 football capsule collection fuses classic varsity elements with modern Americana. Brand icons including the bal collar coat, sack jacket, and pleated skirt meet striped rugby polos, high-top canvas sneakers, and backstrap shorts. The brand’s signature outerwear, cashmere knits, long johns, a down-filled parka, and cozy muff nod to the autumnal season of the sport. Browne was recently announced as an artist-in-residence at Notre Dame. Over the next year, he will conduct a series of talks, visit the campus and contribute to the exploration of how fashion and design shape public life. The series of events will culminate with a course titled “Strong Suits: The Art, Philosophy, and Business of Thom Browne” taught by Meghan Sullivan during the spring 2023 semester.

Credit: SINNA NASSERI
Credit: SINNA NASSERI

SINNA NASSERI

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