SBD/May 8, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Asics Looks To Expand Beyond Running Category With New Ad Aimed At Cross Training

Asics has been "synonymous with running," but the brand now is "hoping to stake a claim in the booming training category," according to Natalie Zmuda of AD AGE. Asics tomorrow will "introduce its training line with a 60-second spot titled, 'What's Next?'" The ad, created by Vitro, San Diego, "showcases a dozen elite athletes who pull up, push up, lift weights and sprint while carrying heavy objects or dragging parachutes." It will be "accompanied by print and digital marketing, as well as in-market promotions, and is meant to introduce the idea that Asics is about more than just running." SportsOneSource analyst Matt Powell said that the brand until now has been "a bit player in the training space," controlling less than 1% of the $1.7B category. The training line "includes six footwear styles and two apparel collections." Asics Dir of Marketing Shannon Scott said that she "expects training will be Asics' biggest business, after running." Scott said, "The two categories where we're seeing growth, outside of running, are training and basketball. Participation in gyms is also climbing back up, and that industry is getting a lot healthier. We did a lot of research with participants, signed some new athletes in cross training categories and got their feedback on where the trend is going." Zmuda noted Reebok has carved out a large share in the Crossfit space. Scott said of gaining a significant share in that market, "We approached it by really doing our due diligence into products and categories we thought would be successful for us. We didn't just go into one category -- we're not planting our flag just in Zumba or studio or Crossfit. We'll be a strong competitor by offering multiple products" (ADAGE.com, 5/7).
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