In Depth

David Beckman in Super Bowl Ad For Retailer H&M. It's Company's First Ever Ad in the Big Game

By Emma Hall
Advertising Age

H&M has announced its first Super Bowl ad, intended to introduce the retailer's David Beckham Bodywear collection.

H&M is a surprising player in the Super Bowl ad lineup. The Swedish company is well-known for its tie-ups with big fashion names and celebrity style icons. It has produced collections with Madonna, Lanvin, Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld, Stella McCartney and, most recently, Versace. Each collaboration is launched with an original short film, created in-house, helping the H&M brand to establish its reputation as an innovative marketer, although it rarely spends heavily on media.

The Super Bowl spot will change that and will provide an opportunity for H&M to showcase its collaboration with David Beckham, one of the world's biggest and most bankable sports stars and a veteran of TV spots for PepsiCo, Adidas and other marketers.

Apart from his soccer career, Mr. Beckham has earned a reputation as a fashion icon unafraid to experiment with fashion, hairstyles and tattoos. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Victoria Adams Beckham, a former Spice Girl and now a successful clothing designer, and their four children, Brooklyn, Romeo, Cruz and Harper. Although he plays for U.S. soccer team L.A. Galaxy, he has made public his ambition to be selected for the Team GB soccer squad at this year's Olympic Games in London.

That Mr. Beckham is a personal friend of Prince William and Kate Middleton, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, only adds to his allure. The Beckhams were invited to the public wedding as well as to the private party at Buckingham Palace after.

The David Beckham Bodywear collection, subject of the Super Bowl ad, launches on Feb. 2 in stores worldwide and online. It will include nine underwear styles, including four types of briefs, three tops, and pajama bottoms and long johns.

David Beckham is famously rumored to wear a brand-new pair of underpants every day, so a move into his own underwear line makes perfect sense. He also had a long association with Emporio Armani as the face and body of its underwear range, while more recently tennis star Rafael Nadal and soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo have been posing in their underwear for Emporio Armani.

Mr. Beckham is no stranger to blockbuster TV spots. He's appeared in Adidas and PepsiCo ads for years. And he starred last year with actress Sofia Vergara in TBWA/Chiat/Day's "Beach Tweet," in which Ms. Vergara shortens the line at a beach kiosk to buy a Diet Pepsi with a tweet pretending she's seen David Beckham, who then appears. He's also done ads for Vodafone, Gillette, U.K. supermarket chain Sainsburys and Sharpie pens.

H&M opened in Sweden in 1947 and now has stores in 43 countries. The retailer also owns Cos, a more up-market chain, and youthful brands Cheap Monday and Monki, which have recently rolled out stand-alone stores.