MAMARONECK, N.Y. -- Next time you're on Metro North and the guy next to you looks familiar, it may be because he's also the same person in the Rothman's ad running above you.
The new "Real Rothman's" campaign, to be revealed May 1, features four local men -- two from Scarsdale, one from New Rochelle and one from Larchmont -- who, save for one of them, have never modeled before.
The family-owned men's clothing store, which has locations in Manhattan and Scarsdale, has always been about catering to "regular guys." So explained Founder and Co-President Ken Giddon who lives in Larchmont and runs the business with his brother, Jim.
"The genesis for the idea really started with the guys I know who have been shopping at Rothman's for a long time and happen to look good in our clothes," said Giddon.
He first approached Alvin Clayton, a New Rochelle resident and owner of Alvin & Friends, who has modeled professionally for years. "I've known Alvin for years and thought he'd be perfect," said Giddon.
Giddon's other goal: To promote other independent businesses," he said. "Obviously, as a third-generation owned company in operation since 1926 I'm big into supporting the independent retailer."
And so, he reached out to Mike Wilson of Wilson & Sons Jewelers in Scarsdale, Mike Gerla, another Scarsdale resident who is a partner with The Atlantic Group, an office furniture company with locations in New York, Los Angeles, CA and Norwalk, Conn, and Brian Chez, an IT specialist at an investment bank in Larchmont.
Larchmont resident James Offenhartz did the art direction, closing the circle on what is almost a 100 percent Westchester production (the photographer is from Rockland).
The four men/models have been shopping at the store's two locations for more than 10 and agreed the experience was fun, if not a little nerve inducing.
"It was a nice break from my usual routine of racing home from the office to chase after my two young boys," said Chez. "I always liked the old illustrated Rothmans man, and now I am one."
Gerla agreed the experience was rewarding. He's the only one that, so far, has had his 15 minutes of fame when the version of the ad featuring him was printed on Page Six of The New York Post two weeks ago. "I can't tell you how many people I heard from," he said. "It was crazy."
He's now eagerly awaiting the Weschester reaction. "I picture someone looking at me on the train, then looking up at the ad, then looking back at me as they try to figure it out," he said.
And there could be more men to watch down the road. Giddon said he's already getting flak from the people who weren't selected. Said Rothman: "It's a good problem to have."
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