Berlin, Cameron in line for Reebok brand work

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Berlin, Cameron & Partners, New York, is developing a global TV campaign for Reebok International and appears poised to land the shoe marketer's coveted brand advertising assignment.

Berlin Cameron currently creates ads for Reebok's running shoes, while Heater Advertising's in-house boutique, The Heat, Boston, handles the brand and basketball assignments. Lowe Howard-Spink, London, has Reebok's soccer account.

BROADER CONCEPT

John Wardley, Reebok's director of worldwide advertising, said that in the process of creating a new running campaign scheduled to break this month, Berlin Cameron offered a concept that could work as a broader brand campaign.

"An idea emerged which we believe is very powerful," he said. "I believe it's a new and powerful way of communicating individuality."

The campaign is believed to use the tagline "One athlete at a time."

"The closer you can get to a shoe that fits your foot personally, the closer you are to heaven," said Ewen Cameron, a principal at Berlin Cameron, about the concept. "The technology of the sports shoe needs to be real, not gimmicky, but still has to be cool."

Berlin Cameron has been given the green light to produce the spots, but Mr. Wardley said the marketer hasn't officially decided if it will go with them. If Reebok does, Mr. Wardley said it could lead to a change in assignments.

$50 MILLION ESTIMATE

"We are very happy with what Heater is doing for us," he said. "Even if we extend the responsibilities of Berlin ... it wouldn't necessarily diminish Heater's responsibilities in other areas, like basketball and print inserts."

Mr. Wardley wouldn't disclose the company's 1998 media budget, but it has been estimated at more than $50 million.

Grey Advertising, New York, handles media for Reebok.

The Heat has handled Reebok's brand and basketball advertising since late last spring, when Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, resigned the account. The first TV spot in a Heat-crafted brand broke in late January. A second spot will break this spring.

Reebok will break a Berlin-created insert for its running shoe business in April running publications. The tagline: "Creating possibilities one runner at a time."

FOURTH INITIATIVE

The insert is Reebok's fourth such initiative this year, following Heat-created efforts that backed Reebok's basketball, apparel and women's businesses.

"If you want to feature seven different shoes, inserts are a good vehicle to talk about a number of products," said Mr. Wardley. "They have greater impact. You flip through some of those thick magazines, you often glance right over ads. Inserts make that more difficult."

Two of the inserts also included CD-ROMs. "We use them to delve into our footwear technologies and how they impact certain athletic activities," said Marvin Chow, Reebok's director of interactive marketing, adding that more inserts and CD-ROM efforts are in the works.

Contributing: Laura Petrecca and Pat Sloan

Copyright March 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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