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CRITIQUE: ESPN Magazine's back cover was graced recently with a copyless ad. Just a picture of 6,000 eerie clones in running clothes. And a Web address:

Curious, we fired up our Netscape and found the same picture and a box to enter an e-mail address, which read, "Learn." We took the bait, the page thanked us and that was that. We hadn't learned anything, yet.

So we made some phone calls.

97005 is the ZIP code for Beaverton, Ore., which is where Nike is headquartered. But this is not a Nike site. It's a Reebok site. Reebok's new campaign, breaking later this month, suggests that runners should "Break out" of their (presumably swoosh-striped) molds and lace up some Reeboks to express their individuality.

Only teaser print and outdoor ads are now in place, and none of them gives any clue of the marketer's identity. Eventually the page will be replaced with a full site about the campaign, and an e-mail will be sent to all the addresses collected announcing the unveiling.

This campaign plays off the idea that if you have a box at a restaurant with business cards in it, others will leave their cards, too, even without a chance at a free lunch. Force of habit. And even in this spam-filled world, consumers assume that if they plug in their address something good will come of it.

And it will . . . for Reebok. It'll get some cheap promotion out of a tease that is otherwise an expensive and provocative gamble.

WHO CREATED IT: Mindseye Technology (

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