For 10 years now, Brooks Sports has positioned itself as the shoe for Happy Runners, and in its new campaign, it’s using whimsical new imagery to bring the experience of its shoes to life.
“We know from our research that Brooks that appeals to people who identify themselves as runners, the people who are first to raise their hands when someone asks, 'Do you run?’,” Heather Snavely, director consumer marketing at Brooks Sports, tells Marketing Daily. “And we know we reach them at all levels, whether they’ve been running under a year or for 16 years. So we wanted to tell them about the experience of the shoe in as artful and compelling a way as possible.”
The new ads, from the Great Society in Portland, Ore., support three of its core shoe lines: For the Ghost 5, which features extra cushioning, ads demonstrate the soft landing. For the cushioning shoe Glycerin 10, the ad illustrates floating through a run. And for its Cascadia trail runners, ads show cute woodland critters.
To reach these core enthusiasts (as opposed to the many people who run to stay tuned up for other sports), Snavely says ads are running in endemic publications, including Outside, Women’s Running, Trail Runner, RunnersWorld and Running Times, as well as digital banners in RocketFuel, RunnersWorld and Running Times. Sponsorship of the Rock and Roll Marathon, the most popular race for beginners, also helps connect with newer runners.
Brooks says it is well-positioned to capitalize on the recent resurgence of running. “Participation in running was up 7% last year, and our business was up 36%,” Snavely says. That follows strong growth in the prior year: The total number of U.S. runners in 2010 was 49.4 million, a 13% jump from 2009. And 28 million of these are lacing up more than 50 times a year, an 8% increase, and 18 million are taking to the streets, trails or treadmill more than 100 times per year, (up 12%). Of the $17.5 billion spent on athletic and sport shoes in 2010, running/jogging shoes accounted for $2.4 billion, according to the National Sporting Goods Association.*
She says it’s also building its awareness, even against behemoths like Nike. “Our 'Pure Project’ campaign, which we introduced in October, was ranked No. 2 only to Nike, by the Running Specialty Store Retail Sales Survey.”
* The story has been amended since being posted.