Reebok Goes Beyond Comfort Zone for Largest Brand Push in Decade

Campaign Kicks Off During NBC's Super Bowl Pre- and Post-Game Shows

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Advertising Age Player

Reebok is prepping a new global brand push called "Be More Human" that explores the role of fitness in people's lives. The campaign, Reebok's largest in a decade, aims to showcase its message "to become a better self holistically through fitness," said Yan Martin, VP-global brand communications.

"To go through life being physically fit is important, but you need to be sharp mentally and you need to be strong socially," said Mr. Martin, "which is why 'Be More Human,' is such a strong message. It's tied to life in general."

The campaign kicks off Sunday, Feb. 1 with a 60-second spot called "Freak Show" that will air during NBC's Super Bowl pre-game show. The ad portrays people training at CrossFit, running the Spartan Race, and pushing themselves in their workouts. It then shows how that training helps them be strong in their daily lives, whether as parents or as firefighters.

The global push includes a microsite called the "Be More Human Experience," which features interactive tools like a test to gauge "human-ness" based on your priorities in life, and a 3D visualizer that shows how physical activities like sitting or jogging affect the brain. It also includes a social push called #breakyourselfie, which encourages people to share photos of their exhausted, post-workout selves.

The effort "touches on different facets of our brand," said Mr. Martin. The "Human Test" touches on the mental; the interactive "Grey Matter" visualizer focuses on the physical; and the selfie campaign hits on the social aspect. "It's very, very interactive. We wanted people to participate and to contribute to the discussion."

The campaign and tagline extend Reebok's efforts to push fitness over professional athleticism. The company has worked toward the new approach by aligning its messaging, products and partnerships with like-minded brands.

The campaign is meant to embody the Reebok Delta, a new logo introduced by the brand last year, which represents the physical, mental and social challenges that come with a fitness lifestyle. It highlights fitness trends like CrossFit and the Reebok Spartan Race in an effor to reach those who go beyond their comfort zone to reach their full potential.

"It's the evolution of the brand," said Mr. Martin. "We're at the point where everything is aligned for the brand to speak up and stand out."

Mr. Martin said the media budget for the campaign is in the double-digit millions of dollars, which trumps many of the major product pushes it has done in recent years.

The Adidas-owned brand has slashed its ad budget in recent years. In total, it spent $21.7 million on U.S. measured-media in 2013, down from $75.2 million in 2010, according to Kantar Media.

The campaign also includes out-of-home ads in key markets.

The push is the first for Reebok out of Venables Bell & Partners, which it tapped as lead agency last December. M&C Saatchi provided public relations support.

With this push, the brand aims to separate itself from others in the fitness category, where companies like Nike and Under Armour focus on sports and star athletes.

"The message that we're sending out there is very unexpected from a fitness brand," said Mr. Martin. "It's a platform that's going to differentiate us from all the other fitness brands out there."

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