CLOSE-UP: CLIENT OF THE WEEK; Reebok reaches for the stars

An intrepid marketer puts a bit of humour into an ad for boots.

An intrepid marketer puts a bit of humour into an ad for boots.

Robert Fallow’s hair is falling out. ‘It keeps looking at me on the

pillow,’ he wails. As the man in charge of Reebok’s UK marketing,

Fallow’s had a stomach-churning, stress-inducing and hair-shedding 18


When he okayed Lowe Howard-Spink’s proposal for a celebrity-stuffed

commercial to promote Reebok’s football boots, Fallow admits he made a

‘giant leap of faith’. ‘Then I had to just let them get on with it,’ he


Last week, Lowes unveiled the result of that faith - a 90-second ad that

is a dual tribute to football and Ryan Giggs, who endorses Reebok boots.

The Tony Kaye directed blockbuster stars a staggering 21 top names

including Jarvis Cocker and Tom Jones - who was filmed in a Los Angeles

hotel room just three weeks ago.

So now the ad’s finished, is the worry all over? ‘I’ll wait and see what

the consumer thinks, then I’ll know if I’ve been fired,’ he chuckles.

The aim of the ad, Fallow explains, is to inject a little humour into

the Reebok brand, which research showed was ‘a bit too sober’. ‘When

Carling [Black Label] brought humour to beer it showed another face to

consumers. We hope this will open up Reebok emotionally to people.’

If each celebrity had been paid the going rate, Fallow estimates the ad

would have cost pounds 10 million. But the finished film was

surprisingly cheap as the celebrities volunteered their time for a

nominal fee and a donation to Barnados.

A former semi-pro footballer, 37-year-old Fallow’s previous jobs include

wholesaling and a spell as a Scottish Dragoon Guards gunner. Since

joining Reebok seven years ago, he’s watched it grow into a major force

in the sportswear market.

When Fallow was a child, he dreamed of being the goalie for Celtic. And

that, he says, is what the Reebok ad is all about, ‘people’s dreams’.

So was all the heartache worth the effort? Most definitely. Fallow can’t

wait to get going again. ‘I’d love to have another crack at one of

these. Next time I’d like to do one with real people. Now that would be