To get the word out about its new Gel-Quantum 360 running shoe, ASICS is conjuring up the squishiest image it could think of: Jellyfish.
The high-end running shoe boasts 360 degrees of cushioning and is the company’s most advanced technology ever, says Shannon Scott, senior director of marketing at ASICS Americas. Themed “Gel Runs Deep,” the campaign touts the shoe’s cushiness and is running in print, social media, paid digital and out-of-home. And it’s also using a “Where’s GEL-Y?” social media photo contest on Instagram, with the #WheresGELY hashtag. (Vitro, in San Diego, is the agency.)
“We wanted to generate some on-the-ground excitement, so we created this challenge,” she tells Marketing Daily. Fans can complete three interactive challenges, then bring their photos into stores for a chance to win free shoes.
The new shoes, five years in the making at the Japanese company’s Institute of Sport in Kobe, are pricey: $170 for adults and $120 for kids. But higher-end shoes are typically among ASICS strongest sellers, she says. She thinks the shoe’s flash, as well as performance, will be a big part of the line’s appeal. It comes in 20 different colorways, and for the upcoming New York City Marathon, there’s a limited-edition version featuring a graffiti-inspired design.
She says the company, an acronym for Anima Sana In Corpore Sano, or a sound mind in a sound body, is also working with bloggers and its own athletes to promote the launch. “Our following is strong and super-passionate,” she says. “And especially with this shoe, we want to get the word out to the public, from specialty running stops to mall-based stores.”
The running category has been a weak spot in the overall (and otherwise hot) athletic shoe market recently. NPD Group, the Port Washington, N.Y.-based market research company, says that sales of men’s running shoes declined in the low single digits in the first quarter of this year (the most recent available), while sales of women’s running shoes were flat.