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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

"Your move" will be new marketing strategy of Reebok

People within Reebok are aware that after years of glutting the marketplace with a confusing mélange of brand messages that returned dismal financial results, they need a new way to see things. That's why the marketing team is moving forward with a single, unified strategy that the company says it will execute against running and women consumers in 2008.

After many months of hard work, “Your Move” appeared as the new motto of the company.

“We need our marketing to appreciate where the consumer comes from and make them king of the whole thing as well,” Uli Becker, head of global marketing, said during an on-site at Reebok’s Camden, Mass., headquarters. “It brings the message into one campaign context. Whether we’re talking about running or women, we’re playing into one equity image of the brand with that single slogan.”

Amd not yet finalized, mock-ups of spring creative incorporates the new slogan in ways that emphasize both the lifestyle and performance aspects of the brand, clearly borrowing from the concept behind the controversial “Run Easy” campaign produced earlier this year by McGarry Bowen, New York—and takes a few potshots at competitor Nike along their way.

“Don’t just do it because someone tells you to,” an ad claims, showcasing running product. “Dog eat dog or downward dog? Your Move” says another, drawing links between both competitive sport and yoga. Another, featuring actress Scarlett Johansson, asks “Grand entrance or great escape. Your Move.”

The creative aims to make Reebok the brand for “individuals,” rather than the hardcore athletes and aspiring athletes that are the target of other athletic brands, according to brand marketing director Rich Prenderville, and is part of a larger effort for Reebok to capture the sport lifestyle market.

“We want to define the line between sport and lifestyle rather than occupy the extremes on either side [like our competitors],” explained Becker. “That area is not currently loaded by other brands, but at the same time it’s very important for consumer. They want to do sports and they want to go to the club and they need a brand that fits both of those needs. We think we can own [that space] over time.”

The company will also seek to more effectively leverage the use of its spokespeople, an area of deficit according to Becker. Basketball star Yao Ming will be used to promote the brand around the Olympic Games in Beijing, and actress Johansson will become a more key element in the women’s initiatives moving into 2008.

While the campaigns will get play on television and other mass media channels, the company will leverage its comparatively paltry ad budget in more impactful media, such as the digital realm.
In 2006, Reebok spent $28 million on marketing, and through June of this year had spent $8 million, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus. In comparison, Nike unloaded $183 million in 2006 marketing efforts, and by June had already spent $65 million, more than double Reebok’s annual spend.

“Reebok will become a digital marketing powerhouse,” said Becker. “There is no way to move around the digital world today, so our future strategy will put all of our emphasis toward digital marketing, but that doesn’t mean that of our spending will go there.”

According to Prenderville, those initiatives will include online advertising, as well as forays in mobile marketing and gaming moving ahead. Within its own ranks the brand is already shaking things up with a major overhaul of its Web site that will relaunch in February, featuring a more personalized interface for users.

Traditional outdoor media will also get a digital overhaul, such as dynamic billboards that, in one example, post updated, local weather information against the brand message: “71 and Sunny. Your Move.”

“All of the big brands in the sports industry are healthy, except for Reebok, and the industry waits for us to come back,” said Becker, after a review of the upcoming marketing initiatives. “[Retailers] tell us that they want us back but that we’re not good enough yet, but also that they understand now where we are going. We’re happy with where we are now and launching campaigns that are going to be very meaningful with regard to consumer relevance. The only thing we need is a little bit more luck.”

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