Jamestown family stars in national ad campaign

Jan. 24, 2013 @ 11:55 AM

If any of Ben and Jenny Bradford’s four children have an interest in modeling, they might be, well, shoo-ins after this.
The Jamestown family of six has won the annual Models Wanted contest sponsored by Rack Room Shoes, earning the right to star in the Charlotte-based footwear retailer’s current national advertising campaign. The Bradfords appear on the company’s website, as well as in newspaper inserts and in-store signage related to Rack Room’s 2013 athletic campaign, which will continue through March.
“I was shocked,” Jenny says, recalling the day she learned the family had won the contest over some 7,400 other applicants. “I went and told my husband. He didn’t even know I had submitted a photo to enter the contest. I hadn’t told anybody because I didn’t think anything would come of it.”
Jenny wasn’t sure how Ben would react to the news, because he’s not the modeling type.
“He’s not really a photo person — he always runs when I bring the camera out,” she says. “So at first I think he was like, ‘What have you gotten me into?’ I think he was excited for the family, though, once he heard everything it entailed. (Rack Room) paid for all of our expenses, so it was almost like a vacation.”
The couple and their four children — 12-year-old Brooke, 10-year-old Alyssa, 6-year-old Braden and 18-month-old Avery — traveled to Charlotte in early December for a photo shoot. The Bradfords received VIP treatment during the three-day trip, including top-notch accommodations, dining on the town, and professional hair, makeup and wardrobe stylists.
Oh yes, and limousine rides.
“That was the first thing the kids were excited about,” Jenny says. “They wouldn’t stop talking about the limo — none of them had ever been in a limo before.”
The family spent two pretty full days shooting photo after photo after photo, but Jenny says the atmosphere was relaxed and not at all stressful.
“My girls have actually done a few modeling jobs in the past, so they kind of knew what to expect, and they loved it,” she says. “I didn’t know how Braden would be, but he totally surprised me. He was like a totally different person — he was working it, and he loved it.”
And Ben, her camera-shy husband?
“Ben was a real trouper,” she says. “He went out and smiled and was very cooperative. “I think he had fun, and I know he enjoyed seeing the kids have fun.”
Rack Room Shoes chooses four winning families in its annual Models Wanted contest — one for each of its four advertising campaigns during the year (Athletic, Spring, Back To School and Holiday). Ironically, the Holiday campaign that just ended featured a Greensboro family, even though it is a nationwide contest.
Meanwhile, the Bradfords are enjoying their moment in the spotlight.
“It’s been a great experience,” Jenny says. “We were all a little nervous going into it, but they were all super-nice and made us feel at home. It’s been a lot of fun.”
jtomlin@hpe.com | 888-3579

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To see more photographs from the Bradford family’s photo shoot, including a wide assortment of behind-the-scenes photos, visit www.rackroomshoes.com and click on “Models Wanted.”