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New ads feature David Beckham

NEW YORK -- David Beckham says he's in the underwear game for the long haul, looking forward to advancing his bodywear partnership with H&M.

The English soccer star's second set of ads for his branded collection launches Thursday. The ads will coincide with a "statue stunt" planned by the retailer with larger-than-life Beckhams going up in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

New products will be added to the collection later this fall.

Beckham says he's pleased with consumer reaction to the line and its ad campaign.

"I'm very happy that so far people seem to like it and the first season was incredibly successful. The challenge is to keep it going and establish a brand that will last many years. That is my ambition," he wrote in an email to The Associated Press.

Beckham, 37, was a champion of the London Olympics that just wrapped up, and literally drove the torch to Olympic Stadium in a boat.

"I was incredibly honored to be part of the team that helped bring the Olympics to my home borough, city and country. I always knew we would put on a fantastic event but it has exceeded even my most optimistic expectations," he says.

Beckham had hoped to play for Britain's soccer team at the Games but he wasn't included on the squad.

The formula for the H&M bodywear line is largely about his personal preferences that, he says, are "comfort and fit." And he's not just talking about T-shirts. Apparently, he doesn't mind some downtime at home, and that's why there will be more cozy and warm items heading into stores. "It's important to me that Bodywear means more than just briefs and Ts. It's about all the pieces I like."

Beckham says he values the input of H&M designers, especially when it comes to their technical expertise, to get products to the point where he wants his name on them. "Working with a team has always been a key part of my life," he says.

But, he adds, he didn't have any help getting in shape so he could feel comfortable minimally dressed in front of the cameras.

"I did nothing different," he says. "I'm naturally fit of course as an athlete so there is nothing out of the ordinary I do!"

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