Brooks Bestows New Life To Undead Through Running

Running doesn’t have to be grueling, sweaty, intense or painful. It can be fun and life-affirming, even among the undead.

Brooks Running looks to bring its long-standing “Run happy” ethos to life (almost literally) with a new global brand campaign that depicts the transformational power of running. “Brooks believes in the transformative power of the run,” Dave Loew, executive creative director at Leo Burnett Chicago, which created the campaign, tells Marketing Daily. “It can change everything: a day, a life, the world.”

The heart of the campaign is a three-minute video that depicts a horde of zombies finding new inspiration through Brooks running shoes. At the beginning of the video, the undead chase the living across a devastated, post-apocalyptic town. As they follow one poor human into a sporting goods store, they pick up some Brooks shoes, which gradually transform them into a brain-hungry pack of the undead into a peaceful group of runners. “Running makes you feel alive,” reads onscreen text at the spot’s conclusion. “Live the way you run. Run happy.”



“We were looking to capture the idea of transformation, and there’s probably no better [depiction] than being alive or dead,” Loew says. “We had a bunch of other ideas that were about running changing people. This was the best way to show that.”

The video will run as the brand’s first-ever television commercial during the Olympic Marathon Trials this weekend on NBC. The full version will also run in theaters before the upcoming Jesse Owens biopic, “Race,” Loew says. 

“Each component of the campaign from the print, digital and broadcast ads to the local running event execution will bring to life different unique running journeys, representing the full spectrum of the truth and joy of running,” says a Brooks representative. “By bringing to life the different unique running journeys, our new campaign represents the full spectrum of the truth and joy of running.”

The campaign will also include print and digital ads that showcase different elements of how runners see and participate in their exercise. One, for instance, uses the brand’s iconic chevron design as a path. The print ads will appear in publications such as Runner’s World, Shape and Competitor Magazine. Digital ads will appear on outlets such as,, Hulu and Pandora.

“Brooks has been in the running game for awhile. They really want to stand up and take a lead,” Loew says of the wide-ranging strategy. “[Competitors] make running look painful and not fun. With their 'Run Happy' ethos, Brooks wants to look at the positive side of running.”

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