Yay! A shoe commercial! Athletic shoes are probably the most advertised, they don’t quite have the same sort of market as say dress shoes or sandals. Running shoes particularly have to have pretty good marketing campaigns to really move the product. There is a strange sort of mentality I feel in general consumers that athletic shoes have to strike a balance from wear-ability and kind of do-ability. Put it this way, the ads have to make it feel like the average joe can do something but at the same time promoting this this brand will make you do this amazing thing. This has as much to do with brands as it has to do with the individual ads.
A good example of this is Nike Air Jordans*. While there is a huge portion of the target demographic that may buy Jordans for more of a status symbol (which it definitely is among some groups). There are others that actually use them for basketball and I would imagine they can channel a bit of MJ magic when they lace up the sneakers. I can freely admit that I’ve been sucked in more than once to such schemes, like when I bought an ab wheel or when I got myself a decent road bike when I really just needed help with regular core work or needed to ride regularly to be better on the second leg of triathlons.** In any case, on to the ad!
*It is important to note that many wiki articles have some significant issues with its content. This article is the first that I’ve seen that has the caution regarding “written like an advertisement, needs to be re-worded to be more neutral”. Wikipedia is fascinating because it really has pooled together the collective resources of millions of people to put together a fascinatingly (and mostly accurate) knowledge base. It is not without it flaws, it will be telling in the next couple of decades whether sites like Wikipedia will remain free or the choke-hold of information by the corporations will bleed into limiting the internet as it is apt to do.
**Which I do need to ride my bike more regularly to build up the appropriate leg muscles and get into a better rhythm while pedaling. Like I need to take a spin class or read a book. I think it is one of those things where I need to observe and speak to a good cyclist to get a better feel for what I need to be thinking and doing. I know that I learn and perform much better when I can take pieces of information, test them, and add them to a larger picture. What is that saying,” some people are thinkers and others are doers”? I just gotta wrap my head around the former to perform the latter.
Firstly by just sheer aesthetics and first reactions:
I love the kind of exaggerated Kung Fu movie type dialog (especially the laugh) and that the athlete in question seems to just stumble in and doesn’t say a word the entirety of the ad. The kind of unexpected and humorous twist also helps to reinforce the catchphrase for the shoe “Like barefoot, only better”. I also like the name “Minimus”. Just kind of throws the barefoot/minimalist movement (which I have written about at length) right into the face of the audience and kind of rubs it in your face.
On the boring/technical/not very accurate analysis:
New Balance is very strong in the running shoe industry. The company still trails Brooks which holds a pretty significant market share in the demographic despite the presence of major shoe manufacturers, Nike and Adidas.*** The ad is part of a series of short ads promoting the Minimus not only that is a useful and effective alternative to running barefoot but also lends to the idea of trail running (becoming much more popular) and a sense of adventure when you go out running (who knows what you’ll encounter). The red color is distinctive but not too flashy and the character has a big New Balance logo right on his shirt which is a great tie in for the little amount of time New Balance is shown directly over the course of the 30 seconds or so. The main character, as it stands, is bearded, white, and generally gives off a kind of innocence that I think plays well to a running demographic that (for males) generally run 25-40. Do remember though, that women are the big demographic in the running community so it is kind of hard to say where exactly this is addressed in the ad. Still, just a terrific ad.
***Which is in itself a fascinating battle because you can break it down to market share in specific sports. Nike traditionally has a stronger market share in basketball while Adidas has a much stronger role in soccer. But it is not as if they have ignored the other sports, there is too much at stake in order to abandon the other sports and just focus on the ones that they are most known for. So millions of dollars in resources are spent to maintain margins (Nike has the likes of Manchester United in soccer, Adidas has the likes of superstar Derrick Rose in basketball, etc and so forth). But these battles for overall market supremacy leaves space for companies like Brooks (running) or Umbro (soccer) or even more ambitious Under Armour (which now has shoes) to carve out very strong market share in specific niches. Did you read and understand all of that? Congrats, that is bare bones, Strategic Management.
As always, let me know if you have an Ad that you love and maybe I’ll feature it here!
Quick update in my crazy racing calendar. Competed in the KCCC 5K with a finishing time of a little over 22 minutes. Not feeling very good during the run, it was a bit hillier than previously anticipated and it was quite hot with a starting time around 8:30AM. Still it was very exciting to participate in my first Corporate Challenge event and I’m looking forward to the other ones that are still to come this year. I have not made the half-mara team but I completed the first of two tryouts of the 3v3 soccer team and will be considered for a spot on the triathlon team. Fingers crossed!
Also completed my first triathlon of the year in Columbia at the Tri-Zou, a sprint distance event on campus at the University of Missouri. While it was a nice course and set up was great (another fantastic job from the people at Ultramax), I did not do very well due to the bike leg and the complications with the swim leg. The first leg was held in a pool which has some serious complications as far as logistics for the 800 or so participants. The 400 meter swim was set as a snaking path along the lanes in the pool but meant that one person at a time could enter the water every 10 seconds. While I don’t think there is a way to avoid this given the circumstances, I was very bored and very ancy waiting for over an hour after the first people started before I could even enter the pool and get my race started. That also meant that I would be outside when it was only getting hotter, later as the morning wore on. In any case, I faded a bit on the bike and had a rather poor run (what is generally my best leg) but a good learning experience. It was a fun weekend regardless and shout out to Nathan, not only for letting me crash at his apartment but also beating me in the race and all in the shadow of graduation from law school. Amazing! And best of luck on the upcoming bar exam!
As for me, I’ll be licking my wounds and prepping for the KC Triathlon in a little under two weeks. See you later space cowboys!