NORTHERN EXPOSURE: The North Face has a fresh take on the great outdoors. This spring, the company is launching its A5 Series of performance-oriented apparel inspired by bouldering, the sport of climbing rocks without harnesses. While the cotton and nylon items can be worn for climbing, they are also designed to be worn around town.
The North Face, a subsidiary of VF Corp., has developed an A5 line for women and another for men. It will be sold in outdoor specialty stores. For women, A5 offers capris, shorts, camisole, halter top, a hat, flip-flops and slides, with activewear wholesale prices ranging from $24 to $42.
ON YOUR MARK: Nike is back in force with its guerrilla marketing for the New York City Marathon, set to be held on Nov. 3. Asics sponsors the event, but Nike has been busy decorating city streets with decals, subways with posters and double-decker buses with inspirational ads. Developed by Wieden & Kennedy, the “Personal Best” campaign features such images as a close-up of a runner’s legs, including one prosthetic one, with the tag line, “Walking is not an option.”
The company will be pulling for one of its sponsored runners, Marla Runyon, who is legally blind and aims to complete her first marathon.
Last year, after Sept. 11, the company backed off the guerrilla strategy except for two on-course billboards, a Nike spokeswoman said. There will not be any on-course billboards this year. Two million fans are expected to line the route to watch the 30,000 runners.
Nike also blanketed Chicago with its ads for last Sunday’s marathon there. After smashing the women’s world record, Paula Radcliffe, a Nike-sponsored athlete, received a bonus for her two-hour, 17-minute effort. But the Nike spokeswoman declined to say how much.
IVERSON PIPES UP: Hoops star Allen Iverson will meet the press and unveil the latest edition of his signature shoe tonight at a Reebok-sponsored party in a Philadelphia nightclub. It will be his first public appearance on behalf of the brand since his arrest last summer. Fourteen felony and misdemeanor charges were dropped against the NBA star this summer.
Reebok is said to have seen sales climb after Iverson’s run-in with the law. The company, which defended him all along, is making the most of his notoriety. The invitation for Thursday’s event teased: “We’re having an affair with the answer…,” playing off Iverson’s nickname.
Iverson will be showing off The Answer VI, a product under Reebok’s Rbk street-smart brand.
CATCHING A WAVE: Quiksilver will open its largest Boardriders Club store, a 4,000-square-foot unit at the Mall at Millenia, a new complex that bows Friday in Orlando. Roxy, Roxy Girl, Hawk Clothing, and Quiksilver clothing will be offered at the shop, the company’s 44th.