Most of the successful great athletes in our sport have coaches, or advisers. I am not sure what is tougher today, winning an Olympic or World Championship medal in the middle and long distances, or making and marketing a great running shoe.
If one looks at the most successful footwear companies, one finds that they have long term relationships with their ad agencies. Look at Nike, who has been with Wieden & Kennedy for twenty-four plus years (and this was after Phil Knight noted to the partners, ” I hate advertising”.”
VITRO has been with ASICS America since the mid nineties. Heck, William Jefferson Clinton was President! And Fun Lovin Criminals was playing “Scooby Snacks” on the radio! (I have just rediscovered this song, much to my son’s dismay). Many of us were looking forward to the 1996 Olympic Trials and Olympics in Atlanta that summer, when a brash little ad agency convinced ASICS to give them some business.
Over the years, VITRO has created award winning ads for ASICS America, from print, to innovative web programs, and now, to a TV commercial that has to be seen to believe.
I am always fascinated with constructions. The above commercial, ” Levitation”, was created by VITRO to launch the 33 by ASICS performance line in general and the GEL-Blur33 in particular. Per the ad agency, VITRO, no special effects was used to make the commercial. That even makes it geekier!
Like a good commercial, “Levitation” gets our attention. That whole fascination with models, games, and intricate things comes into play! The detail is fascinating, and the construction is mesmerizing. And for a 30 second commercial, it keeps one’s attention, while also sending the viewer to 33byASICS.com.
ASICS was, actually, the number one performance footwear company in North America in 2010. Brooks is pushing for the prize at this time, followed by several key players. In a tightly contested battle with Brooks Running Shoes, and Saucony, Nike, Mizuno and New Balance, among others, performance running product is getting better and better, in my humble opinion. In our sport and biz, competition is king.
While Nike has the overall lead in running footwear sales (approx $2.8 billion), the jewel at the top of the food chain is ASICS America, with somewhere around $450 million in sales with an average shoe price of $95. The sweet spot, as many call it, is that $95-$130 price tag.
Run Specialty has approximately 723 doors, with Fleet Feet being the largest in the performance running sales, with 89 doors. Of the 723, many of the newer stores will carry one major brand and a few smaller brands (we count 43 running & trail brands at this time, per Running Network footwear reviewer and editor Cregg Weinmann), plus yoga and pilates apparel.
The running retailer who is successful knows his or her community, from top to bottom, knowing when to hit the coaches of the local high school or college team, when to have XC or Track nights, when to have DIVA nights, and just how many local races they can support on the weekends before they loose their minds. Without lightweight product, however, the run specialty store would close its doors-the consumers have taken up the mantra.
The real geek stores number about 450, and they have seven brands on their walls. ” If you can not help me sell more shoes, bringing in a different consumer, then let me alone.” noted more than one prominent Specialty retail running guru.
What will be fascinating over the next year is to see where lightweight and product lines such as 33 by ASICS go. RBR sees lightweight as having a continued effect on the making, branding and selling of performance running footwear for some years to come.
Miracle of Science: ASICS Innovates to Launch “33 by ASICS”
ASICS, the athletic products manufacturer known for innovation, has done it
again, introducing the new 33 by ASICS collection of shoes in a television commercial as scientifically stunning as the shoes themselves.
In the TV campaign, by VITRO, three budding geniuses create “gravity’s archenemy,” a12 foot-long floating replica of the ultra-lightweight GEL-Blur33. Using no special effects or digital magic, the three technical twenty-somethings suspend the giant shoe in mid-air, using only airpower, nylon string, and their own creative energy.
The real-life science experiment took almost a month to design and build.
When it was done, the floating GEL-Blur33 required almost 3,000 ping-pong balls, 2 industrial air compressors, 24 air valves, and nearly 800 separate guide lines. The floating shoe measured 12 feet long, 6 feet high and 4 feet deep, hovering 2 feet off the ground. The project was literally rocket science, designed by an aero-space engineer, who’s last gig was building a space based telescope.
“33 by ASICS represents the brand’s true commitment to innovation,” says
Gary Slayton, VP of Marketing Communications for ASICS America. “The
GEL-Blur33’s vibrant colors and style are matched by its lightweight
technology. It’s perfect for working out, or going out. ASICS has always
been known for world-class running technology, but 33 by ASICS fills the
needs of a whole new group of people, people that need a lightweight shoe
for the sport of living.”
The GEL-Blur33 is the first offering from 33 by ASICS collection, which will
also include the Rush33. 33 by ASICS is named for the 33 joints in the human foot and is designed to promote natural movement.
“There is nothing more entertaining than watching someone create something
original. We tried to capture the magical joy of discovery that’s inside all of us. But this is a story brought to life by a new generation, raised on technology, and inspired by the ingenuity of design. It turned out to be one of those times when advertising really was half art, half science.”
“We’re incredibly proud of our 15 year partnership with ASICS,” says VITRO
Principal Tom Sullivan. “ASICS has grown into the number 2 running brand in America. And we’ve never quit looking for innovative, insurgent ways to steal market share for them. With 33 by ASICS I think we hit it out of the park.”
The 33 by ASICS commercial features the song “Gentleman’s Gold” from Neon
Platix. Beginning April 11, you can catch VITRO’s “Levitation” ad on ESPN, Comedy Central, and during the NBA Playoffs. You can find ASICS’ GEL-Blur33 at leading retailers, for a retailer near you, visit www.asicsamerica.com.
VITRO, an MDC Partners agency, is a full service creative shop located in
San Diego, CA. We steal share through great work for our clients around the world including: ASICS, Newcastle Brown Ale, BollÃ© sunglasses, and PF Chang’s among others. Even though we don’t do it for awards, we didn’t want to sound defensive, so we went ahead and won a few of those too: Cannes, The One Show, Effies, Kelly’s and the Event Marketing Association, to name a few.
Executive Creative Director: John Vitro
Creative Director: KT Thayer
Art Director: Kevin Lukens
Art Director: David Reyes
Art Director: Ali Filsoof
Copy Writer: Schuyler Vanden Bergh
Account Supervisor: Danielle Chalin
Group Account Director: Michael Catanzaro
Agency Producer: Mickey Strider
Director: Alex Ogus
Client: ASICS America Corp.
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