Kobe Bryant announced Wednesday the launch of his new athletic body care line called Art of Sport.
The retired NBA star has teamed up with Matthias Metternich, an LA-based entrepreneur, and Brian Lee to create a start-up company focused on selling body care products like deodorant, soap, and sunscreen to athletes.
Bryant spoke to SI.com’s Ben Golliver about the company’s overall vision:
When I played, I had a day job, Bryant explained. In between games, Id write and think and create stories, some of which were brand-related. Storytelling has always been a central part of my life. With AOS, the exciting part has been deciding how we use our messaging to connect with athletes across the world.”
My mentality is to always rise and compete. That’s why I’m a founding partner of Art of Sport – a new brand helping all athletes feel and perform their best through performance-driven body care. Proud of this team. Proud of this challenge. #ArtOfSport #BornForMore #MambaMentality
Were speaking to the athlete through our communication and were connecting to the spirit of the game. The important thing in building a brand for athletes is making sure the messaging and the story touches on the emotional components and the spirit associated with a great soccer match or basketball game. The product shouldnt only benefit you from a physical standpoint, there should be an emotional and inspirational benefit too.
Houston Rocket’s James Harden, Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster and Cubs infielder Javier Baez are among several professional athletes featured in promotional assets.
While watching the advertising video, I really got a Nike storytelling vibe. A content piece that takes a company’s product and turns it into a lifestyle and relatable emotion. Interestingly enough in the interview with Golliver, Metternich touched Nike’s influence on him.
Feel ready to perform Narrated by Erick “The Architect” Elliott #ArtofSport #BornForMore
I grew up with a brand like Nike that was born for sport, Metternich said. When I think of a sports brand in skincare, companies like Coppertone, Livia, and Neutrogena dont come to mind. Our research has indicated that products that label Sport on the package can significantly outsell the same brands standard product lineup because consumers feel that more care and attention is put into those products. But what is that companys affiliation to sports? If youre not as dedicated to athletes as we are, that Sport nomenclature can ring hollow.
Emotional and inspirational content always does well when targeted correctly. It’s a relatable element that we all can identify within effective storytelling. My concern though is that this piece is too closely similar to the storytelling energy that Nike gives off in their ads. Their foundation is solid and they are hitting a valuable market, but they may need to find a more unique angle to tell their stories through the company’s content.