NEW YORK — Jets quarterback Chad Pennington will be using his potent arm for something other than throwing passes.
The 27-year-old has been signed as the spokesperson for a new NFL-licensed watch, and in the role, Pennington will be featured wearing the timepiece on the cover of Avon’s first men’s catalogue and will likely participate in other Avon promotional initiatives.
Set to debut in October, the new Avon brochure will be called M — The Men’s Catalog and will be issued quarterly, according to Amanda Webb, Avon’s U.S. marketing manager. Each issue will contain 16 pages with a printing of 8 million copies and will be tied to a theme appealing to men, such as sports and technology. The first is linked to the NFL.
In addition to offering some NFL-licensed merchandise in the catalogue, to help kick off its expanded focus on men, Avon will launch two men’s skin care collections in the fourth quarter, a fragrance and a selection of accessories such as a key chain, a mirror with a clock and a hair trimmer.
Pennington, who lives in Long Island, N.Y., for proximity to the Jets practice field, made a quiet entrance to a Chelsea Piers Studio on Wednesday for the photo shoot, accompanied by three business associates.
The polite, unassuming Tennessee native was at ease at being the first man to appear on Avon’s men’s book, saying that, from the women in his family, he knows it is a respectable firm. Pennington clearly picks his associations thoughtfully. “Quantity is not it. It is about quality and the relationships with the people you work with,” he said.
Men’s grooming and appearance is very important to many of his teammates, particularly off the field, noted Pennington.
“Some of the football players are really into fashion,” he said. “But being a professional, you have to look nice and present yourself well. It will affect how people look at you and interact with you. And, as athletes, we are asked to do a lot of corporate appearances.”
Through Gametime LLC, a licensee of the NFL, Avon will have an exclusive on the Gametime NFL Workout Watch for the first year. It also will be selling six NFL Super Bowl Victory watches, as part of the deal with Gametime.
The new Avon grooming brands are: Pro Sport Daily Performance and Pro Extreme Maximum Performance. Daily contains Invigorating Face Wash, Facial Moisturizer, Soothing After Shave Balm, Refreshing Body Wash and Roll-on Antiperspirant Deodorant, priced at 99 cents to $5.99. The Extreme collection introduces four men’s antiage products: Deep Cleansing Face Wash, Energizing Facial Moisturizer, Advanced Eye Cream and a body product called AbFirm. The items are priced at $8 to $15. The Pro Sport Eau de Toilette Spray, a spicy citrus featuring tangerine, lavender and sage and a hint of cedarwood, is $12.99.
Avon executives declined to pinpoint the current size of its men’s business, but did note that it sold $70 million in men’s scents last year. The sales represent a small slice of Avon’s $1 billion fragrance business.
Webb noted that industrywide sales of men’s grooming products have been steadily climbing. Men’s Health magazine has recently added a men’s grooming column in each issue, and CVS drugstores have added a 4-foot department for men’s skin care items. “The grooming trend has really extended to all demographics,” said Webb.
To get the catalogue into the right hands, Avon representatives hope their existing female customers will serve as conduits to the men in their lives and pass on the brochures. Avon does not intend to recruit an all-male sales force for the initiative.