The ads, shot on Malibu's beach by fashion photographers Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott, will appear in sport, fashion and lifestyle magazines and on billboards in major cities such as New York, Los Angeles, London, Milan, Rome, Paris and Tokyo. The photographers are reprising their roles in the Beckham ads. The print magazine ads will debut in the August edition of Vanity Fair.
The Los Angeles Galaxy player was in Emporio Armani advertisements in 2007 after signing a three-year, £20 million deal to become the global ambassador for the Giorgio Armani brand. Beckham--who early last year signed a five-year, $250 million deal for The Galaxy, and is probably soccer's top earner--has also pitched Vodafone, Adidas, Pepsi, Motorola, Gillette and Coty. The latter plans to create a sub-brand called "Beckham Beauty House." Beckham also appeared in print ads shot by Annie Leibovitz for Florida's Disney World Resort, under the "Year of a Million Dreams" banner.
Beckham gets an annual fee plus royalties. Armani is competing against Calvin Klein, which last year launched the Calvin Klein Steel line of underwear with ads featuring movie actor Djimon Hounsou. The subsidiary of Phillips-Van Heusen and its Underwear division, owned by the Warnaco Group, also featured actress Hilary Swank in advertisements in its fall 2004 campaign. Other brand models have included Kate Moss and Mark Wahlberg, and former soccer star Freddie Ljungberg.
The deal with Armani for the SS08 briefs was Beckham's first non-athletic clothing contract, but the designer in 2002 designed the England team's official outfit. Armani reportedly became a friend to Beckham and his wife after the couple moved to California when Beckham signed with The Galaxy.
Chicago firm Mintel in 2006 (the latest date of their review of the category) estimated the market at $4.5 billion, or about 6% of the overall men's apparel market. The firm said growth from 2001-2006 was 17%, but that it would likely contract to 2% at thereafter. The firm said younger men are more likely to buy underwear, and more likely to buy more when they do. Underwear buyers ages 18-34 bought an average of 22 items in the last year, compared to buyers ages 35+ who bought an average of 15 items.
Overall, Mintel expected the market to decrease 5% at constant prices from 2006 to 2011.