Jockey features riders on billboard, in print campaign.

What would it take for you to show the world your underwear? For a group of snowboarders, not much, evidently. On November 2, eight K2 riders became famous when a billboard in probably the most visible place on the planet-Times Square in New York City-was unveiled showing them with their pants down. What caused them to bare their skivvies? The fact that they were wearing new Jockey underwear beneath their snowboard clothes.

Jockey chose K2 team riders to be featured in its real-people advertising campaign, introduced in February ’98, which features everyday people wearing Jockey underwear. The ads and billboards in the campaign have featured groups of doctors and Broadway actors, among others. With this campaign, Jockey is targeting both its regular customers and new groups with a down-to-earth approach-trousers down, that is. Of course, snowboarding seemed like a good match to draw some new customers.

“Snowboarding is currently one of the hottest winter sports being picked up by men and women of all age groups,” says Debra Waller, executive vice president at Jockey International. “It’s fun, it’s a thrill, and a quick learn. We’re so excited to have the K2 team riders join the Jockey campaign. Their enthusiasm and energy parallels the spirit of the audience we are targeting.”

In addition to the billboard, the team is featured in Jockey print ads that have run in such national publications as Rolling Stone, SportStyle, GQ, TransWorld SNOWboarding, and Snowboarder, to name a few.

Over the summer, Jockey International contacted K2 to feature snowboarders in upcoming ads. The K2 staff talked it over with its team riders first, to make sure they were into it. Then, according to K2 Marketing Manager Heidi McCory, the riders were asked to submit video profiles so the Jockey management could choose the ones they wanted. The criteria were not riding ability, but how photogenic the riders were. Eight were chosen to be a part of the ad shoot: Brian Savard, Travis Parker, Tim Ostler, Cory Smith, Tina Dixon, Brook Morton, Chuck Casella, and Eric Wilborn.

Prior to the billboard unveiling, a radio campaign aired on the local New York radio station KROC, as well as local college stations, inviting consumers to Times Square to see the K2 team drop their pants. At 6:00 p.m. Monday evening, the team stood on a raised platform, pull-cord in hand, to drop the cover and unveil the billboard. To the cheering of onlookers, the cover came down to reveal the team sporting their snowboard gear and Jockey boxers. The K2/Jockey billboard spans 100 feet across Times Square in a prime location across from the MTV studios, and often can be seen in the background during shows such as MTV Live.

To stoke the crowd, KROC handed out swag from K2, Jockey, and other event sponsors such as Penguin Mints, Un-Petroleum, Good Earth Tea, Thorlo, and Clif Bar. The team riders were also interview by Extra and Entertainment Tonight television shows.

Of course, the riders were excited about all the mainstream attention. “I’m a home-town hero,” says Casella. “How often does one get to be on a billboard, let alone in Times Square, in their underwear?”

It was rumored that Dixon and Morton were going to hit up Victoria’s Secret next and Savard wants to follow in Marky Mark’s footsteps with a Calvin Kline campaign.

-John Stouffer