As it separates from Adidas and builds up its in-house creative agency, Reebok is unveiling a new brand direction this week. It’s the first work from Kerby Jean-Raymond, the designer behind activism-based fashion label Pyer Moss who was named Reebok’s VP, creative direction last September.
To help create the new campaign, Jean-Raymond hired designer Jide Osifeso as artistic marketing director to help lead the new brand identity. The new work includes a collection of three videos—one 11-minute film and two shorter vignettes—under the “Reconnect” title. All three will be rolled out in the coming weeks.
In one shorter piece, two boys spar in a living room as furniture breaks around them. In another, a man is shown getting ever closer as he runs through the mud. Directed by Jonas Lindstroem, who co-wrote it with Osifeso, the longer film has different chapters. In one, a young boy walks with a kaleidoscope around his community. A different chapter shows a father dispensing lessons to his son, “Your body is your first piece of real estate, like you own it,” he says. “Nothing’s more precious than that. When we talk about wealth, we should really start there.”
Though Reebok has worked with the likes of Venables Bell & Partners and Deutsch in the past, the new work was created internally with no external partners, according to a spokeswoman for the Boston-based brand. Earlier this year, Adidas revealed plans to sell the struggling sportswear brand after purchasing it in 2005 for $3.8 billion. Even before the pandemic, Reebok was in the process of trying to turn around its business, which had its heyday in the 90s. Recent work starring Cardi B helped build buzz, but last year, Reebok posted sales declines during the pandemic. In the first nine months of 2020, sales fell 20%, according to reports.
Yet as consumers begin to spend again on apparel and accessories, there has been a renewed uptick. During its most recent quarter, Adidas said Reebok saw net sales rise by the double digits.
“The overall sales process is well on track, and we are confident about the successful future of the brand and the team behind it,” said Harm Ohlmeyer, chief financial officer of Adidas, on a recent conference call with analysts.
The new work will appear on Reebok’s YouTube and Instagram channels. Later this year, Reebok will reveal a new global brand campaign and the first product line influenced by Jean-Raymond. While the current batch of videos are male-focused, a Reebok spokeswoman says that “women remain a major focus for Reebok,” noting that 40% of the business is in women’s.