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PARIS — David Beckham’s newly signed deal with the Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) soccer club is likely to shift a slew of number 32 sports shirts over his five-month stint playing for the French team. But how will it impact the hunk’s marketing cachet — for the athlete’s growing fashion and fragrance empire, his fashion designer wife Victoria’s brands, and new ventures?
The message for now — particularly in light of the brief duration of the soccer contract — seems to be wait and see.
“I think people are going to wait a little bit. During those five months, if [Beckham] proves that it’s not just a marketing move but it’s bigger than that, he could be a magnet and have more brands interested in him. It really depends on him, if he’s going to play it well,” said Antoaneta Metchanova, the newly appointed international creative director of Publicis 133, the luxury pole of French advertising agency Publicis Conseil. “Beyond the glossy David and Victoria Beckham thing, I think what would benefit a brand that might be interested in him would more be the attitude — the attitude of change, taking a risk and just living it…If taking chances reflects the spirit of the brand, it could work.”
A spokesman for H&M said it was looking forward to the launch of the spring 2013 David Beckham Bodywear for H&M collection in its stores from next week, but for now it has no plans for any Paris-based events related to his arrival at PSG. The Swedish fast-fashion chain’s 30-second Super Bowl spot for the line a year ago made WWD’s fashion moments of 2012.
Simon Fuller, the agent for both Victoria and David Beckham, could not be reached for comment.
Despite recent reports that the Beckhams, who have been based in Los Angeles for the past six years, were hunting for a home in the French capital’s 6th arrondissement, the veteran midfielder told a news conference here Thursday that his family will be staying in London, where his children are now schooled. Suave as ever, Beckham wore a dapper, form-fitting gray suit to face the cameras. The news of his PSG signing caused a major buzz in French media, with L’Express magazine, for instance, hailing the arrival of the “pop star of English football.”
Others took a more cynical stance.
“David Beckham’s arrival at PSG raises the question of his competitiveness, because the Spice Boy has rolled in with a status more of an ambassador for Qatari ambitions than of a top-level player,” wrote Le Figaro’s Cyrille Haddouche, referring to the club’s owner, Qatar Sports Investments. “A special status can feed jealousy.…In a changing room where the egos of players already have a hard time cohabiting, the arrival of a third-hand Rolls-Royce which becomes the main focus of the media risks causing envy.…The Beckhams’ busy Paris life, which will no doubt be splashed across all the celebrity magazines, will most likely annoy his future teammates who don’t count the likes of Tom Cruise among their close acquaintances.”
The Beckhams’ move will cut by a few thousand miles the commute for Victoria Beckham, whose fashion studio is based in south London’s Battersea neighborhood. The designer could not be reached for comment on whether she plans to join the London or Paris fashion week schedules in lieu of presenting in New York. In the run-up to the London 2012 Olympics, Victoria Beckham took on the role of fashion ambassador for the British government’s “GREAT Britain” campaign. Speaking in a promotional video, the Spice Girl-turned-designer said: “To be able to achieve the quality that I want to give my customer, I have to do that in London.”
On the ad campaign front, David Beckham — the ultimate metrosexual fashion plate — so far has focused on activewear, accessories and underwear. His current and past endorsements include Breitling, Emporio Armani underwear, Adidas, Electronic Arts, Diet Pepsi, Yahoo, Castrol, Marks & Spencer, Motorola and Police sunglasses, making him the world’s eighth-highest paid athlete in 2012, with $46 million in salary and endorsements, according to Forbes.
Beckham launched his first signature fragrance in 2005 with Coty, which also is the licensee for Victoria Beckham’s perfumes. The golden couple launched the master brand Intimately Beckham in 2006. Their 10-year-old son, Romeo, stars in Burberry’s current campaign.