He may be a fictional sports figure, but Kenny Powers is going where no athlete has gone before, revitalizing an entire brand from the top down as the new Mother F**kin’ Chief Executive Officer of K-Swiss with dreams of making Tubes™ “bigger than cable television and/or drugs.”
Blurring the line between reality and a twisted, R-rated sports fantasy, K-Swiss’ Vice President of Marketing, Chris Kyle, is banking on the effrontery of Danny McBride’s brash Eastbound & Down character, Kenny Powers, to help the company re-introduce itself to a new generation of consumers, and hopefully sell some shoes in the process.
It’s a gamble, one that some in the marketing industry aren’t sure will pay off, with the company’s projected sales of $281 million in 2011 still only adding up to about 1/100th of Nike’s business. And though their shares are down by double digits, according to CNBC, Kyle, McBride, and Powers are all a large part of the fact that Tubes™ have now become the first shoe in K-Swiss history to outsell the classic kicks that put the brand on the map.
How did they do it?
As fans of the HBO original comedy series know, Kenny Powers doesn’t do anything on a small scale. Half-assed, yes, but in a big, big way. In the extended spot, which will make its edited television debut during tonight’s ESPY Awards on ESPN, Powers enlists some of the “baddest athletes” in the sports world to come together and put their own spin on the K-Swiss brand.
Kansas City Chief Matt Cassel as the Chief Marketing Officer who churns out such advertising gems as “We Let the Dogs Out” (emphasis on “we”) and “Come at Me, Bro"; Community Outreach Director Jillian Michaels, 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis as the VP of Carnage, and the director of the K-Swiss autobiography featuring a Transformer in Kenny’s likeness with a human brain - and Tubes™ Michael Friggin’ Bay.
“That,” as the man himself says, “is how you run a company like Kenny Powers.”
Nike may not be in any immediate danger of losing their target market, but for now, K-Swiss definitely has their attention, and the company’s looking forward to the day when they can turn to their number one competitor and proudly say: “You’re f**kin’ out!”