When Novak Djokovic opted to sign with Japanese retailer Uniqlo in May 2012 instead of one of the usual sports apparel companies, one of the advantages seemed to be it provided a wider promotional avenue. Join up with Nike, lucrative as it may be, and it’s basically shoes, sweats, and catchy slogans. Uniqlo produces all forms of casual wear and affords Djokovic the opportunity to spread his wings outside of professional sports. To borrow agent speak: It’s all about improving an athlete’s brand.
About a year into the partnership, it appears we’ve got Djokovic’s first foray into marketing something for Uniqlo that’s not totally tennis-specific. He’s one of the company’s faces for AIRism—light and breathable underwear designed to keep the wearer dry and cool. It can be worn for sport, but is also intended for everyday use. In a statement coinciding with the announcement Djokovic declared he’s not just an endorser of the line, but a genuine believer:
“The fabric always stretches to fit my most strenuous moves. With this on, I can concentrate on my game. That was a new discovery for me."
And here we thought it was Nadal who struggled with his underwear. Djokovic will be featured in TV, print and online ads that will run in the 13 global markets Uniqlo currently has stores. Below is the first television spot. What do you think?