"We have a very diverse range of products and consumers," Fila e-marketing manager Carolyn Holliday tells Marketing Daily. "I think that's common in sports because you have the performance side and the street side."
The contest, which began earlier this month, asks people to submit photos of themselves wearing Fila gear along with a caption describing how they "Fila" in the photo. People are then encouraged to vote for their favorite contestant. The top four (as well as others chosen at the company's discretion) will be used as models for Fila's 2008 spring marketing campaign, which will include print and online executions. The campaign will be built around the line, "How do you Fila?"
"We're really asking the consumers to tell us how our products feel to them," Holliday says. "We're not going to try and tell our consumers how they should feel or what is an appropriate context for our products."
While responses to an earlier iteration of the "How do you Fila?" positioning showcase more emotional responses (thanks in large part to drop-down menus limiting input options), responses to the current contest have been much less literal, Holliday says. She mentioned one photograph that depicted a person as having tattooed the company's name and logo on his lip.
The contest is currently being promoted only through online channels, such as the company's Web site, banner ads, search marketing and e-mail blasts. A second phase of the contest, which will incorporate video set to launch in January, will have further offline support, Holliday says.
Increasingly, companies are turning to consumer-generated options when it comes to their marketing. Last week, PepsiCo launched an online game in which consumers will determine the taste and packaging of a new Mountain Dew extension. Fast-food chain Chick-fil-A has also launched a contest to find the company's biggest fans through online video and voting.
"In the marketplace, you've seen a huge increase in the influence and hype of the individual," Holliday says of the trend. "Consumers are really smart, and they're not going to be fooled [by false hype]. We see this as an immense opportunity to engage with consumers."
As a sports apparel company, Fila is dwarfed by better-known brands such as Nike and Reebok. The campaign is intended to carve out a space away from those competitors as a company that listens to its consumer's needs. "Fila has an agility some of our competitors don't have," Holliday says. "I still think there's a lot of people out there who are telling us how we [should] feel."