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