Saturday, April 5, 2008

I love New Balance's new Love/Hate campaign

Not many ads these days rely on sound strategy and good old consumer insights; most are the result of a sort of creative onanism and oneupsmanship. But New Balance's Love/Hate campaign, while not groundbreaking in its creativity or media placement, stands out with its clear sense of strategy and target audience.

Most casual runners do have an ambivalent relationship with the sport. It's good cardiovascular exercise, but is pounding the pavement past the point of comfort really enjoyable? New Balance recognizes these mixed feelings, and validates them. It's not often a brand acknowledges the negative feelings consumers have towards its products.

New Balance is in the tricky position of trying to maintain its core consumers of dedicated runners, while also attracting the more common morning jogger. What's more, it's competing with the advertising behemoth known as Nike, which has already earned the brand loyalty of many runners through smart advertising and marketing tie-ins, like Nike + iPod and the sponsorship of city-specific races.

But this campaign has legs, and I'd bet New Balance will see some decent growth in 2008.

Now, for the creative: BBDO and Frederick Bond produced a series of beautiful spots, the best of which, "Anthem," uses vivid German Expressionistic mise en scene (canted buildings and blood-red skies) to bring runners' anguish to life.

BBDO's Anthem spot

By the way, New Balance 992s are, in my opinion, the best running shoes on the market.

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