According to sources Carolina Panthers' WR Steve Smith will be featured in an ad campaign to sponsor 'Babies Incorporated' and their 'Real American kids' campaign scheduled to run June 15th through July 6th.
The campaign will be a series of national spots showing Smith as a child (pictured) then evolving into the Panthers' pro-bowler as he tells audiences that:
"Getting a good start is vital to the future of any child, and 89 says the best start is with Babies Incorporated"
The spot's director Lawrence Hissonwich says that while it's easy to make comparisons to E-Trade and their successful campaign, what he's aiming to do is completely different:
"I love what they've done, but we're doing something completely different. Sure, it's an adult in a baby's situation- but their ads never show the future of their children"
Undoubtably the national media will have a field day with the spots and will likely compare them to the Panthers' current youth movement. Smith is one of the few remaining Panthers over 30, and a spot showing him as a child will likely emphasize this. "I don't know about that" says Hissonwich. "If anything I think it helps portray Steve is a younger, more vibrant light".
The spots represent the first time the Carolina Panther has been featured in a national advertisement. In the past Smith has been known for his recurring role in Bojangles restaurant's regional marketing strategy, but has never done anything on this scale. Anders Swistofferson of 'The National Advertising Roundtable' thinks it's a smart decision:
"We so rarely see a strapping, strong, macho figure willing to depict himself in a vulnerable light. It is very welcome, and a smart strategy. There's something about that little guy (motioning to a shot of Smith) that makes you want to pinch his cheeks"
I'm sure that Smith and 'Babies Incorporated' hope that the public will see the campaign in the same light as Swisofferson.