Reebok Boosts Spending Behind EasyTone, ZigTech

Sports Stars, 'Reetoners' Star in Pair of Global Campaigns

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Reebok has been betting big on advertising new innovations like its ZigTech and EasyTone products -- and the investment's paid off well enough that the marketer is ramping up two new global campaigns.

In 2010, the athletic brand nearly tripled its measured media spending in the U.S. to $75.7 million, with $38 million devoted to ZigTech and $31 million to EasyTone. It's a major shift from the year before, when the Reebok brand spent $27.6 million, according to Kantar. And in 2008 the brand spent only $8.2 million in 2008.

Reebok's EasyTone campaign features the 'Reetoners,' a group of seven women who hail from a variety of countries.
Reebok's EasyTone campaign features the 'Reetoners,' a group of seven women who hail from a variety of countries.
"In the last 18 to 24 months we've gone from one ad to major communications platforms," said Richard Prenderville, VP-global brand marketing at Reebok, which is part of Adidas Group. "We've had a couple of bursts of communication that have really worked well for us."

Now, the brand is looking to build on that momentum with two new global campaigns from DDB, Berlin, launching this month. Reebok began working with the agency nearly two years ago, and the agency's ability to understand how Reebok approaches sports differently than, say, Nike, has been key. "We walked into the relationship with DDB saying we've always had a different take on the world," Mr. Prenderville said. "All the other brands take more of a blood, sweat and tears approach. We think fun is more of a sustaining motivational factor. Having fun staying in shape is our strategic territory."

The EasyTone campaign features the "Reetoners," a group of seven women who hail from a variety of countries and are fans of the brand's toning shoes. The women will be featured in TV, print, digital and in-store advertising. The EasyTone campaign also introduces the brand's EasyTone apparel line. The line launched late last year and sold out within two weeks at some retailers, Mr. Hainer said. EasyTone footwear uses "balance pods" -- think those oversized balance balls in the gym -- to tone butt and leg muscles. And the apparel line uses "Resistone bands" to tone muscles and improve posture.

The second campaign, which Mr. Prenderville calls a "major tour de force," promotes ZigTech and includes eight TV spots, as well as print, out-of-home, digital and in-store ads. The campaign will run in more than 27 markets worldwide and features athletes from seven sports, including NFL quarterback Peyton Manning, British boxer Amir Khan and Indian cricketers Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Yuvrag Singh. ZigTech is billed as "the shoe with the energy boost." It has a zigzag-inspired sole that Reebok says reduces wear and tear on shins and propels the wearer forward.

Herbert Hainer, CEO of Adidas Group, said investments to promote new Reebok initiatives have been a "home run" during the company's fourth-quarter conference call last week. Reebok sales grew 12% to about $2.6 billion in 2010. In 2010, the brand sold about 10 million pairs of EasyTone and 2 million pairs of ZigTech. According to SportsOneSource, sales of toning shoes in 2010 exceeded $1.1 billion and accounted for 5.5% of all sport footwear sold. Toning sales are dominated by Skechers (60% share) and Reebok (33%).

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