SKECHERS is a $2 billion brand that knows how to make popular footwear. "We make family shoes", noted one insider. Two years ago, they embarked on an even more rarified journey: making performance running shoes.
With the help of Meb Keflezighi, 2004 Olympic silver medalist, they began to work on lightweight running shoes. SKECHERS has had some good luck: they picked one of the most popular and respected American athletes of his generation. Meb has run personal bests two times in SKECHERS, and won the Olympic Trials, plus took fourth in the Olympic Games, with much fanfare.
Meb is the American dream. SKECHERS has gained more with this athlete support than many other athlete sponsorships we see out there. Truth is, SKECHERS had to do something to gain exposure, as new brands or smaller brands to this channel must get more out of their limited sponsorships and resources.
The difference is, SKECHERS is a big brand, with big resources, trying to be patient and develop a performance running brand. And Why would they do that? Because, gentle readers, someone at SKECHERS realizes that core runners are the ten percent who influence the ninety percent. Ignore core runners, and imperil your brand. Yet, to be honest, well-established running brands ignore core running each and every day.
SKECHERS is making performance running shoes, but like any mass marketer, they are learning their lessons in Run Specialty. Run Specialty wants to see that SKECHERS is committed to the channel, will develop strong product and can make them money.
What the team at SKECHERS needs, most of all, is to be able to communicate that they are a quick-moving, quick-reacting, focused little running brand inside of a global company with strong resources. Running store owners like that. Running store owners like it when a brand needs them, and SKECHERS makes it very clear: they want and need run specialty.
The teaser ad below, with Man versus Cheetah is funny, to the point and will get SKECHERS lots of airplay between now and the SuperBowl. The SuperBowl has become , at three million dollars a minute, a place where only the big boys and girls in marketing can play. SKECHERS makes a point of being there.
The SKECHERS ad is funny, and eye-catching. One is not going to do the loneliness of the long distance runner or a sexy shoe shot on the Super Bowl.
This Man versus Cheetah will grab the attention of millions, but the key will be, can it get millions to walk into a store and look at SKECHERS' running shoes?
Americans like humor, and in the Super Bowl, they are dealing with football crazed sports fans. Only time will tell. The key for SKECHERS is to, get attention, and create consistent, high-quality performance running shoes. Easier said than done.
In brand marketing, getting eyeballs is half of the game, getting them to inquire, or best of all, buy the product, is another game itself. SKECHERS has put a humorous ad in front of one of the largest TV audiences of the year, if not the largest for a single night. SKECHERS brand will get attention.
Americans like humor, and in the Super Bowl, marketers are dealing with football-crazed sports fans, more worried that the current chicken wing scarcity could influence their enjoyment of the game. They will watch the ads, grab a beer, watch the game, repeat.
Only time will tell. The key for SKECHERS is to, get attention for the brand, create consistent, high-quality performance running shoes, and get the support of the run specialty channel.
That will take some time, but for now, I will enjoy Man versus Cheetah.