Athletic-gear company Everlast Worldwide, long associated with boxing, is gearing up for its centennial with a raft of marketing programs, including efforts to mine new markets. The company, which relaunched last fall with an updated logo and promotional deals outside boxing, makes or licenses hard goods, apparel, footwear and accessories.
The new efforts include a national tie-in with 24 Hour Fitness gyms around the country called the Everlast Shadowbox Workout. The program has professional boxers giving lessons, instructor promotions, and VIP classes at 24 Hour Fitness, to draw traffic and signups. There is also a new ad campaign in buff books, and on-air integration with "The Biggest Loser," which will incorporate both 24 Hour Fitness and Everlast Shadowbox Workout into this season's workout episodes.
Matt Cowan, VP of advertising and marketing at the New York company, tells Marketing Daily that the promotional deal with 24 Hour Fitness -- which has about 450 gyms around the country -- is an effort to reach beyond core boxing enthusiasts, a tactic Everlast has done on a smaller scale with Crunch gyms.
"It's bringing Everlast's fundamental values to a fitness consumer," he says. "Our ultimate goal is to get consumers to try our hard goods and gloves. Once people get a touch and feel for our gear, they become committed to the sport."
The brand's centennial activities include the launch next month of The Muhammad Ali Collection. The effort includes a microsite featuring video content of Ali talking about his training regimen, advertising and point-of-purchase material.
Although Everlast's legacy is bound to boxing, Cowan says the brand is not challenged by its own iconography, and that it is possible to juggle its boxing-centric brand equity with efforts to expand and find new opportunities.
"Market share is shifting toward MMA [mixed martial arts], but that doesn't mean boxing is dead or on the decline," he says. "But [MMA] is our next direction for evolving the brand and getting a younger demographic." He says Everlast is negotiating with MMA organizations to ink official fight-glove status for the brand.
The company last year signed MMA star Randy "The Natural" Couture to a long-term exclusive contract. Couture, a six-time ultimate-fighting champion with the best-known name in the sport, was inducted into the Ultimate Fighting Championship Hall of Fame and was the first fighter to hold titles in both the Heavyweight and Light-Heavyweight divisions. Everlast also has a promotional deal with MMA star Gray Maynard.
Cowan says Everlast has about 65% of fight glove market share, and is hoping to grow that to 80% by the end of year. Mexican brand Reyes is second. Cowan says both Miguel Cotto and Manny Pacquiao, who face off next month, wear Reyes. But Everlast, which has just introduced a new line of fight gloves, is hoping to change that.
"Even though we do not sell a lot of professional fight gloves, [professional use] is critical to establish brand authenticity," says Cowan. "At the highest level, if an athlete chooses Everlast, that speaks volumes -- it's absolutely imperative."
Everlast has some 47 global licensees, including apparel and cosmetics.