Asics Pivots From Shoe Company to Health and Wellness Brand

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Asics is trying to outrun the pack of rival activewear retailers with a new branding that positions the Japanese footwear company as a health and wellness brand. On Wednesday, the brand is debuting "I Move Me," a new campaign that celebrates its diversity of products for a diverse range of people—including, but not limited to, athletes.

Celebrity DJ Steve Aoki is headlining the campaign, marking the first non-athlete spokesperson for the brand, according to Sarah Bishop, who joined as vice president of marketing for Asics North America earlier this year. A new digital spot leans heavily on music and the power of movement. Olympic wrestler Jordan Burroughs and Olympic bobsledder and hurdler Lolo Jones will also be featured in the new push, among others.

"We have spent the last year and a bit redefining who we are as a brand and what we want to stand for," explains Bishop. "We need to modernize and evolve from being a footwear manufacturer to being a well-rounded health and wellness brand."

The athleisure space has grown crowded -- a trend that is only expected to continue. The news that Amazon is planning its own activewear line will also ramp up the pressure on brands including Asics, Under Armour and Lululemon. Bishop notes that a broadened appeal for Asics is key to the company's success, particularly with younger consumers. The new marketing is solely digital, and will include nine pieces of content coming online between now and the end of the year. "We're trying to recruit that yonger generation Z and millennial audience," she says.

Asics worked with Saatchi & Saatchi, its global creative agency of record, on the "I Move Me" tagline and global positioning. United Entertainment Group handled North America strategy. The company recently worked with 180 Amsterdam on "Want It More," which debuted last year.

While Bishop, a former Coca Cola marketer, declined to provide specifics on budget for the new push, she did say Asics is "going all in." Last year, Asics spent around $1.5 million on measured media in the U.S., according to Kantar Media. The company is also doing fewer sports sponsorships—this will be the first year it does not sponsor the New York City Marathon after a 25-year run, replaced by New Balance—and focusing on other areas, like music.

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