Manchester United and England footballer Rio Ferdinand is to be the new face of Ben Sherman in a deal that will also make him a partner in the company.
Under the terms of the deal, which was negotiated by Ferdinand’s commercial agents World Sports Solutions (WSS), the footballer has received a six-figure fee for the association with Ben Sherman and been granted a bond by the brand’s owners, venture capitalists 3i. WSS claims this will allow Ferdinand to benefit from any sales increases his association with the brand may bring.
Ben Sherman marketing director Andy Rigg says Ferdinand is the “perfect fit” as the company is working towards bringing “greater level of desirability to the brand”.
A press campaign, created by Ben Sherman’s in-house team and photographer Jake Walters, will launch Ferdinand’s involvement.
Rigg joined Ben Sherman a year ago from Puma where he was the international marketing director (MW January 17, 2002). Under Rigg, the brand’s marketing spend increased six-fold, to £3m, and the company intends to match that budget this year.
WSS managing director Tony Simpson describes the contract as “much more than a badging exercise” and compares it to Nike’s deal with legendary basketball player Michael Jordan, who has shares in the profits of the Air Jordan range. “Rio is now a partner on par with the senior management at Ben Sherman, which is unprecedented in the UK,” Simpson claims.