- Reebok is trying to win over 20-somethings with a bold, new ad campaign, "Sport The Unexpected."
- The struggling sneaker brand is facing more competition than ever, not just from other fitness brands, but also from fashion houses that are getting into the category.
- With the new campaign, Reebok wants to get people to think of it as surprising and unconventional.
Reebok is trying to become relevant with 20-somethings, so it’s trying to win them over them with a new campaign.
“Our brand awareness is quite strong globally. But in terms of this particular audience, really knowing what we stand for, what we’re about, and our more daring, provocative point of view and voice, they’re not as familiar with it because they don’t understand or they haven’t been introduced to our history and our heritage,” said Melanie Boulden, Reebok’s VP of marketing.
Adidas bought the sneaker brand in 2005 to catch up to Nike and has been trying to revive the brand since then. In recent years, Reebok promoted itself as a fitness brand for sports team participants and the hardcore workout crowd. But its new campaign is aimed at a wider group of consumers who are wearing workout clothes outside the gym and want brands that have pop-culture significance.
The new campaign, “Sport The Unexpected,” breaks March 11 and is comprised of three short videos. The first shows a young woman brazenly interrupting a street basketball game, then getting the players and spectators to dance along with her. A second one shows a woman traveling through a house party while mellow music plays. The videos have an other-worldly feel. Reebok’s agency of record Venables Bell & Partners handled the campaign.
Reebok has recently been using star athletes and personalities like Cardi B in its marketing and said the new campaign will continue in that vein. The third video will feature a surprise celebrity.
Boulden, who started in the role in May, said the campaign had to be extra bold to get people’s attention in an increasingly competitive sneaker market where fitness companies and fashion houses are fighting for share.
“There are all these other brands that were never in athletic wear that are coming into the space, so it’s making the space even more crowded,” Boulden said. “I’m struggling to think of another industry that’s as competitive right now.”
The campaign makes heavy use of digital and social media, but Reebok isn’t ignoring TV, despite the perception that 20-somethings don’t watch television. A teaser version of the ad is running on channels like MTV and Comedy Central with young viewership.
“We’ve done a lot of analysis to figure out what is the best way to not only reach them, but also frequency is part of our strategy. We know that they are still engaging in TV,” Boulden said. “So we’re not doing maybe necessarily the nightly news; we’re being very prescriptive on who we’re trying to reach and the vehicles that were supporting.”
As a brand with a relatively small retail footprint in the US, Reebok also is revamping its e-commerce site by making it faster-loading and making the product pages stronger, knowing people have less chance to see the shoes in stores than they do with bigger brands.
Reebok wouldn’t disclose its spending for the new campaign, but in 2017, it spent almost $18 million on paid media in the US compared to Nike’s $48 million and Under Armour’s $31 million, according to Kantar Media.
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