Reebok Takes Its Turn At A Branded TV Series

The list of companies that have rolled out long-form video content for TV, film and the Internet is long--and getting longer. Think Land Rover's "Go Beyond TV"; Dr Pepper's "Band in the Bubble" program on New York's Pier 54 and on MTV; Dove's "Campaign for Real Beauty" and it's latest installation, the Web film "Onslaught."

Stay tuned for sportswear maker Reebok. Acquired by Adidas two years ago, the company on Monday at New York's Tribeca Cinemas will unveil its first branded TV series called "Framed." The show has a bipartite narrative theme: at one level, it is about a professional athlete from the perspective of a music, film or TV star who profiles and interviews him or her. But each segment is also a first-time directorial effort by the very celebs doing the profiling and interviewing.

Each half-hour episode will follow the athlete/entertainer pair over two days during the film-making process that culminates in the premiere of a short film.

Todd Krinsky, Reebok's head of sports and entertainment marketing, says Reebok's main objective with "Framed" is to showcase top athlete endorsees both on and off the field, "to truly bring our endorsees to life outside of traditional advertising. 'Framed' highlights Reebok's positioning as the brand that celebrates individualism in sport and in life."



He adds that Reebok products will be worn by the athletes in the series "just as they are worn by our athletes in everyday life."

Reebok's digital distribution is still in the works, per Krinsky. "However, we definitely plan on supporting 'Framed' online and will include consumer engagement platforms." The program is the first effort from Reebok Entertainment, a new division of the Canton, Mass.-based Reebok.

The division handles entertainment duties, including music, arts and film. "Framed," which was created with Carat/MY Entertainment and Roadside Entertainment, will air exclusively on the Independent Film Channel from Dec. 14 through March.

"We felt the timing was right to bring Reebok Entertainment to the next level," says Krinsky. "Given today's cluttered media marketplace, "Framed" was a very worthwhile investment because it takes such a unique marketing approach, beyond traditional advertising."

The first episode is by--and features--actress Emmanuelle Chiriquí, who will interview basketball player Baron Davis. Other segments will feature basketball icon Allen Iverson profiled by hip-hop artist Nelly; soccer player Thierry Henry interviewed by actress Paz Vega; NFL "Rookie of the Year" Vince Young "framed" by actress Regina King; and World Series-winning baseball great David Ortiz profiled by comedian Carlos Mencia. Tennis player Jelena Jankovic will also be featured in a segment.

The company is also opening a store in New York City with the National Hockey League, called "NHL Powered by Reebok," on the ground floor of the NHL's new world headquarters.

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