Cap firm first rejected Spike Lee campaign

March 9, 2007 at 3:29 PM

BUFFALO, N.Y., March 9 (UPI) -- Filmmaker Spike Lee's commercials for the U.S. hat company behind the custom-styled baseball-caps craze almost didn't happen, it was reported Friday.

"We told him, 'Look, we think we're going in a different direction,'" New Era Cap Co. marketing Senior Vice President Gerry Matos said, suggesting Lee's first idea emphasized baseball more than New Era.

Lee asked for a second chance, Matos told The Buffalo (N.Y.) News. "And he's Spike Lee, so we gave it to him."

Lee, who fell in love with New Era caps in 1996, came back with a different concept "and knocked the ball right out of the park," Matos said.

The commercials, to air on ESPN, Fox and Sports Network, include a spot featuring well-known Major League Baseball players grilling hamburgers as they camp out in front of a New Era store waiting to get the newest version of a classic cap.

Separately, New Era of Buffalo, the largest U.S. sports-licensed headwear company, plans to launch a line of clothing aimed at young urban men, the newspaper said.

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