The 2½-minute documentary can be seen at newbalance.com/USA, which highlights the company's domestic manufacturing history, facilities and footwear products in Skowhegan, Maine. The video can also be viewed on New Balance's Facebook and YouTube fan pages.
The campaign includes print, radio and online advertising. Dedicated in-store materials as well as footwear hangtags and box stickers highlight the 993, 1063 and 769 models as either Made or Assembled in America. Online ads will run on CNN.com, AOL.com and Google.
On Monday, New Balance will invite consumers to give feedback to win an opportunity to experience Skowhegan shoemaking firsthand. For every entry, New Balance will donate $1 to the non-profit National Center for Craftsmanship (NCC) up to $50,000. The NCC is dedicated to the preservation, enhancement and sustainability of quality craftsmanship, from construction and manufacturing to art and handicrafts. The contest will run through the end of July.
Digital Kitchen, the production company that produced the documentary, spent a week in Skowhegan filming the company's associates at work and at home as well as the Skowhegan landscape and greater community.
The Boston-based company is the only athletic manufacturer that still produces footwear in the U.S. Nike, for example, has plants in China, Thailand, South Korea and Vietnam. Reebok is supplied by factories in Indonesia, China, Thailand, Vietnam and Brazil.
A google search for "Made in the USA" yields 11,700,000 hits, including many sites devoted to informing consumers of products made in this country such as www.madeinusa.org and www.americansworking.com.
"Not only does buying Made in the USA products ensure that jobs are kept in the United States, but it also benefits both workers and corporations, instilling a pride in U.S. citizens about our economy and our manufacturing processes." writes John R. Beaman, webmaster of the madeinusa.org site.
Consumers have become more attuned to the source of products in part due to the economic recession and job losses in the U.S. The massive pet food recall in 2007 that resulted from melamine finding its way into pet food through the Chinese manufacturing process also heightened awareness of sourcing and regulation.
New Balance has five U.S. manufacturing facilities in Boston and Lawrence, Mass. and Norway, Norridgewock and Skowhegan, Maine as well as one in Flimby, U.K. A quarter of the company's total athletic footwear production is currently made or assembled in the U.S. each year.
"We made our first pair of running shoes in 1938 and have never wavered in our commitment to domestic manufacturing," says Rob DeMartini, New Balance CEO, in a statement. "During this tough economic time, we are proud to showcase the powerful unity of our American workforce and their local community.
"Our associates have passion and pride in their craftsmanship, and their dedication to their work is why we are able to withstand economic challenges and remain strong. This documentary highlights Skowhegan as our first Maine factory, but tells the success story of all New Balance manufacturing facilities and associates."