Shutdown Corner - NFL

Starter, the company that made those ubiquitous sports jackets back in the day, is making a comeback built around Texans' two favorite things: Wal-Mart and Tony Romo(notes).

As Darren Rovell wrote this week on his Sports Biz blog, Starter is re-launching with a direct-to-retail deal with Wal-Mart and an advertising campaign that features an NFL logo-less Romo. (Starter doesn't have rights to show NFL trademarks, so the company is not-so-subtly dressing him up in Cowboys colors. It's the advertising equivalent of generic cereal at the grocery store.)

It's not mentioned if Starter's most famous product, the winter coats with sports logos popularized by rap groups like N.W.A. and Public Enemy, will be reappearing on store shelves, but it seems like a great time to capitalize on nostalgia for 1992. America is in a recession, the Democratic party is invigorated by a fresh-faced president, Dr. Dre is readying a solo album and the Washington Redskins are poised to make a run to the Super Bowl. (Oh come on, I can dream, can't I?)

In case you forgot how cool it was to have a Starter jacket, check out this commercial from 1992:

Wait ... what? Was that Roger Dorn Corbin Bernsen? I mean, I love me some Theo Huxtable, but which ad executive thought it would be a good idea to show him stealing MC Hammer's dance moves while wearing a Georgetown jacket? (I'm guessing a former ad executive.) And for a company whose value skyrocketed due, in part, to street cred, opening a commercial with Brooke Shields would be like Jay-Z doing a duet with the guy from Coldplay. (Oh, wait.) No wonder Starter went bankrupt in 1999. 

At least Iconix, the company who purchased Starter from Nike in 2007, is using a better endorser this time around. Romo is a good catch. And exclusive deals with Wal-Mart usually seem to be winners. If that fails, I'm sure Malcolm Jamal-Warner is available for the next set of commercials.

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