SBD/April 24, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

Reebok Enhances Testing Protocol, Tweaks Marketing Message For Toning-Shoe Business

Reebok tweaks its marketing message in the latest campaign for its toning shoes
In an effort to "maintain a thriving toning-shoe business," Reebok said that it has "enhanced its testing protocol and tweaked its marketing message," according to Natalie Zmuda of AD AGE. The company was fined $25M last year after claims that its toning shoes could "make muscles more fit ran afoul of the Federal Trade Commission." Head of Reebok Women's Sport division Martina Jahrbacher said, "We are 100% convinced, and have done more consumer insights to identify, that there is still a market for toning. It will not be as hyped as it was in the beginning. That's our job in the industry, to bring it to a reasonable level." Zumda reported rather than "abandon the lucrative category, Reebok went back to the drawing board and conceived a more rigorous testing protocol." New ads from McGarryBowen "carry the tagline: 'A beautiful way to reduce body fat,'" while fine print "details Reebok's study." The campaign, "now running in Europe and Asia, will be rolled out globally," though plans for the U.S. "are not finalized." While sales in the category have "slowed dramatically, consumers still appear to be smitten." SportsOneSource analyst Matt Powell said that dollar sales "for toning shoes were down" 50% last year, to $550M, but unit sales were down only 20%. Powell: "My read is the consumer still really likes these shoes" (, 4/23).

SETTING GOALS: MARKETING DAILY's Sarah Mahoney noted Under Armour is "introducing a goal-setting Web site called 'What’s Beautiful.'" Involving Twitter and Facebook, the site is "a competition to redefine the female athlete," with an end result of three new "faces" for UA, as well as seven brand ambassadors. Through the site, women "declare a goal, and then post proof of their progress with videos, photos and diary entries." In addition, users will get 15 Under Armour Missions, as well as "motivational content from guest trainers, UA’s athletes (including the likes of skier Lindsey Vonn and sprinter Natasha Hastings), gear giveaways and updates on other competitors." Both 30- and 45-second spots are "scheduled for Under Armour Women’s social media channels" (, 4/23).
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