Youth culture has always been at the core of the athletic shoe brand Asics. Yet recently the challenge has been that many of today’s young consumers are not as familiar with Asics as they are its largest rivals, including Nike and Adidas.
Young people are a notoriously difficult group to crack, as every consumer behavior study has shown. Meanwhile, the already cutthroat sneaker market has become even more challenged with the rise of the coronavirus pandemic. Many athletic and recreational activities have taken a time out—a terrible predicament for sneaker brands, whose sales the first week of April declined 75 percent year-over-year, per NPD, with every brand in the sector taking a hit.
Asics has been steadfast through the crisis, continuing to connect with the young consumers, sneakerheads and sports enthusiasts who are its targets via social media and the uninterrupted rollout of new products. Even though the Tokyo Summer Olympic Games have been postponed for a year, Asics, a sponsor of the event, still plans to release three Olympics-themed styles this year.
That momentum builds on the ambitious activations the brand did last summer with the largest entertainment company on the planet, Live Nation. In the latest case study from Ad Age Studio 30, contributor Tony Case writes, Asics found the perfect partner to appeal to young, culturally plugged-in consumers where they live, at three extremely popular live music festivals: Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza and Governors Ball.
Like retail and the athletic shoe market, the events and experiential marketing realm has also been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. If you’ve heard of an event, chances are it has been either canceled or postponed—everything from NCAA basketball March Madness and South by Southwest to the Met Gala and Cannes Lions. Meanwhile, concerts featuring acts from The Rolling Stones to Reba McEntire have had their plugs pulled.