Reebok has always embraced the saying “life is not a spectator sport,” and the company backed that up with innovative athletic shoes that defined the running and aerobics categories. The aerobics shoe had such impact that it transcended the gym and became a fashion statement. Reebok knew there was a large perceptual difference between performance footwear and fashion. Fashion is fleeting, performance never goes out of style for the serious athlete. So, when Reebok found itself facing an uphill battle to make headway with consumers in performance categories such as basketball, the brand passed the ball to us to take them to the hoop. Hoops skews to a younger, participation-driven demographic. We recommended a two-pronged public relations approach: a grassroots PR campaign that would introduce Reebok to the baller community and a national branding campaign associating Reebok with key athletes in performance sports ranging from basketball to Olympic volleyball to race walking. At the grassroots level, we conceived “The Club Challenge” pitting gyms against each other in competition. The Challenge featured our Everyman Slam Dunk Competition in which anybody could compete via an adjustable backboard. This brought NBA-style excitement and athleticism to an event few could ever do. At the national level, we undertook a barrage of high profile shoe introductions featuring professional athletes discussing performance. This powerful combination of corporate branding and public relations positioned Reebok in the performance sector from the top down and the bottom up resulting in a perceptual change and increase in sales.
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