Sales Jump 11% After Asics Gives TV a Try

Longtime Magazine Advertiser Will Stick With Spending Shift as Category Heats Up

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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- Asics, long a steadfast magazine advertiser, is running deeper into TV.

Asics will focus its TV spending on cable, but says print will remain a key part of the brand's marketing plan.
Asics will focus its TV spending on cable, but says print will remain a key part of the brand's marketing plan.
The running-shoe brand dabbled in TV for the first time last year, spending about $5 million of its $27.6 million U.S. media budget on TV advertising, primarily on Olympics broadcasts. That spending came primarily at the expense of magazines, which have traditionally dominated Asics' budget. Magazine spending fell $2 million, to $21.7 million, despite a $3 million spending increase overall, according to TNS Media Intelligence.

The tinkering paid off, as Asics' sales rose 11% last year, according to SportsOneSource.

"We were very happy with the results," a spokeswoman said.

Those gains came despite a surge in spending by competitors. Struggling New Balance also increased its TV spending, tripling its overall marketing budget last year, and it has vowed to maintain those increases this year as it tweaks its approach. Under Armour launched a running shoe in January with a national campaign. And Nike, of course, remains the segment's biggest spender.

Focus on cable
Asics will focus its continued TV spending on cable, with ads running on channels such as ESPN, Comedy Central, Discovery and the Food Network, among others. And executives said print will remain a key part of the brand's marketing plan, with ads in targeted magazines such as Runners World as well as general-interest titles such as Sports Illustrated, Men's Health, Self and InStyle.

"We want to reach out to all runners, not only to increase our awareness but also to continue to build an emotional connection, which has been successful with our print efforts," Gary Slayton, Asics VP-marketing communications, said in a statement. "TV is still a strong tool in awareness-building media. We will use very targeted cable programming in order to be as efficient and to have as much impact as possible. Print will also remain an important outlet."

Asics also recently announced a shift in its agency roster, naming longtime roster shop Vitro Robertson its global agency of record beginning in 2010. Its current global agency of record, Amsterdam Worldwide, will remain on the roster after this year but focus on work in select local markets.

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