Skechers Signs American Idol's David Cook

Skechers USA has signed American Idol winner David Cook to endorse the brand globally, hoping the new idol will super-charge the athletic shoe company’s cool, hip brand image.

I actually think this is a good move by Skechers. Idol, despite its detractors, is still a powerful entertainment vehicle. And Cook is a much stronger talent and personality than the last two winners—Jordin Sparks and Taylor Hicks.

The Cook deal was announced just a month after analyst firm Wedbush Morgan Securities lowered Skecher’s rating to “Buy” from “Strong Buy” because “a potential shift toward more athletic styles could pressure sales of the company’s core low profile product,” says Wedbush Morgan Securities analyst Jeff Mintz. The downgrade has contributed to a subsequent drop in Skechers stock price.

But the Cook deal can help, just as American Idol’s top-ten is on a national tour.

Because of derision of Idol in the mass media news shows, some analysts and experts say a deal with Cook is risky in case he becomes a joke. I would have said that about Taylor Hicks, because, he…well…did become a joke.

But Cook strikes me as having staying power if he is managed and produced right.

The endorsement deal gives Skechers exclusive worldwide rights to advertise footwear using Cook’s image. The campaign, which launches fall 2008, will run through December 2009, using print, outdoor and in-store ads that feature the 25-year-old artist in various Skechers styles that reflect his interests and style.

If Skechers plays it right, some of those ads will gently but comedically poke fun at the Idol franchise, and maybe engage Idol followers with some inside jokes. God knows, there must be jokes that can be created around David Archuleta and Jason Castro.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.