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Rap Megastar Jack Harlow, a Longtime Fan of New Balance, Has Signed With the Brand

Jack Harlow has never hidden his love of New Balance. Now, the rap megastar is a brand ambassador.

The sportswear giant announced today that Harlow is the latest addition to its ambassador roster, a star-studded group of athletes and entertainers that includes NBA champion Kawhi Leonard, fellow musician Jaden Smith, tennis standout Coco Gauff and others. New Balance said in a statement that Harlow will appear in its key marketing campaigns and will also play a role in its connection to basketball culture.

Aside from joining the New Balance roster, the brand also confirmed today that Harlow will debut a new basketball shoe during tonight’s Ruffles NBA All-Star Celebrity Game. Also, the famed rapper will have several New Balance looks on throughout the video for his next single, “Nail Tech,” which arrives Feb. 18.

“Jack is a rising star and an authentic fan of New Balance. We could not ask for a more ideal ambassador to represent our brand. We are consistently impressed with Jack’s devoted passion for his craft and his relentless desire to improve,” New Balance chief marketing officer and SVP of merchandising Chris Davis said in a statement. “He is simply an individual who is not afraid to innovate, a value that is mirrored in our brand identity. We look forward to collaborating with Jack to transcend the world of fashion and sport, just as he has done in music and culture.”

Although Harlow’s addition to the New Balance roster was announced today, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Harlow, who was the cover star of FN’s July 2021 issue, acknowledged at the time that his love of New Balance has become a recognized part of his public image.

“I was there before they were in this wavy place. I don’t know if there’s anyone in culture that people associate with New Balance more than me,” Harlow told FN in July 2021. “I think of me and Kawhi — and Jaden is involved, too — but when people see New Balances, talk about New Balances, they use my name, they bring me up.”

He continued, “New Balance put in a lot of work, they got the right people involved to make the right decisions and keep it fresh and revitalize the brand. But I feel like I’ve been right there with them helping. I’ve been f**king with them since 2014/15, I’ve been going to the factory to see them since 2017/18, so it’s dope to see them come this far because there was a time when people thought it was an ironic thing to wear New Balance and now people are like, ‘Can you get me a pair of those?’ They have tons of kicks out that everyone wants to wear.”

Jack Harlow
Jack Harlow, shot exclusively for FN.
CREDIT: Cam Kirk

And when Harlow has aligned with New Balance historically, his appearances have had a tangible impact on the brand.

For instance, prior to singing this deal, Harlow appeared in several campaigns for New Balance, including the brand’s effort to showcase the Fresh Foam 1080v11 performance running shoe in March 2021. At the time of the July 2021 cover shoot, Launchmetrics confirmed the rapper’s Instagram post for the New Balance 1080v11 shoe was worth $133,000 to the brand in Media Impact Value (the data and technology firm’s measurement of the value of marketing activities). And it values the 1080v11 campaign video on YouTube at $210,000.

In all, Launchmetrics stated Harlow’s appearances for New Balance’s efforts for the 1080v11 were worth $881,000 in MIV.

Harlow likened the campaign with New Balance to doing records with his favorite musicians.

“It’s kind of like collaborating with artists I grew up listening to. It’s something you fantasize about, and when things come full circle, you can’t help but take a moment to be like, ‘Damn, I used to dream about this, and now I made it happen.’ It’s a pat on the back moment, it feels good. Feels like you accomplished what you set out to accomplish,” Harlow said.

Harlow’s first appearance in a New Balance effort was the “Fearless Ones” content series that debuted in 2019 in conjunction with The Fader.

Of “Fearless Ones,” New Balance global director of consumer brand marketing and athlete activation Pat Cassidy told FN, “When it came time to start on ‘Fearless Ones,’ Jack was a guy we had become aware of — he’d been talking about us, he’d been representing the brand, he understood the brand. This is a guy who in high school could name check very important models for us and talk about why they’re important: 574, 990.”

Cassidy said he recognized early on that Harlow brought a lot to the table.

“Jack was doing things very differently. His story was different and he was signaling to the world that he was an independent operator,” he said. “As he came into our world, he’s been everything that we had thought he would be and more in terms of being a great partner.”

Jack Harlow
Jack Harlow, shot exclusively for FN.
CREDIT: Cam Kirk
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