By  on May 7, 2007

BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Spring has barely blossomed, but SouthPole is readying for blizzards.

The young men’s hip-hop brand hauled piles of cushy white snow to a Brooklyn studio where R&B artist Mario took the stage for SouthPole’s fall/winter advertising campaign. In a scene set at a ski lodge in Aspen, with snowmobiles, skis and snowboards as props, Mario showed off SouthPole’s cold-weather looks alongside America’s Next Top Model finalist Eugena.

Although the 20-year-old musician admitted he’d never been skiing, Mario believes the setting is aspirational for SouthPole’s consumers. “People in New York think of snow bringing mush to the streets,” he said. “This gives people the idea of what winter can be like somewhere else.”

Mario is back for his second tour as face of the brand. He and Eugena also starred in SouthPole’s spring ads. But don’t expect the enterprising star—who will drop his third album, “Go,” in July, and recently starred in the movie Freedom Writers with Hilary Swank—to launch his own label anytime soon. “You can’t rush into that business just because you have a name,” he said. “You can waste a lot of time and money if you don’t do it the right way.”

David Strumeier, vice-president of licensing, marketing and new product development at Wicked Fashions (which owns the mid-tier mainstay SouthPole as well as the contemporary brand Lot 29) noted the company is moving towards more “lifestyle” marketing. “It’s a shift from the urban of the past being defined as more aggressive, hardcore looks,” he explained. “The appeal is still for a fashion-conscious urban consumer, but it’s a softer, cleaner style for a more diversified customer. We’re undergoing the same paradigm shift in our company that the industry is undergoing.”

The ads will debut in August issues of magazines including Vibe, XXL and Slam, and run through the new year.

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