Marketing Advertising: Reebok ‘Pump’ Reebok, Nike and Adidas are some of the most prominent names in sports apparel, especially shoes and occupy the major chunk of the market. Their ubiquitous presence around the world is well supported by vicious and innovative advertising campaigns in a wide variety of media. Television and the internet are the media which attract the maximum ‘eyeballs’ around the world today. Therefore meticulously planned and worded advertisements seek to attract the attention of the beholder in the most effective manner which can lead to instant attraction and desire to possess the object being advertised.
Advertising has attained an art form in the last few decades and ingenious and novel ideas are used which yield instant appeal but may be sustained only for a short period. This necessitates the production of a sequel which has to be equally effective, if not better. Any advertising strategy is aimed at achieving specific marketing targets by convincing the consumer about the qualities of the product. Advertising messages are not mere inspirational or quick wit creations but involve the interplay of intelligence and discipline by the creators who are experts in the discipline (drypen. in).
They have specific objectives in mind when they create terse and practical advertising messages. Target audience identification, positioning in the market based on the availability of comparable products, acceptability by the consumers and brand image are the vital aspects of any successful advertising campaign. Successful advertising involves a thorough identification of the target audience by careful market segmentation, studying of underlying patterns of buyer behavior, building up of product personality and situational factors (drypen. in). A product is placed before the intended consumer by not merely harping about the physical product characteristics and material used, but by impressing the customer about the total exclusiveness of the product itself. This particular advertisement by Reebok tries to beat the competition in one stroke by highlighting the difference its ‘Pump’ technology incorporates into an otherwise completely ordinary shoe which can have the same quality of material and workmanship when manufactured by the umpteen companies involved in this business.
The ‘pump’ technology imparts a particular characteristic to the shoe which allows the owner an added advantage of buoyancy and effectiveness in accomplishing athletic tasks for which the shoe has been designed.
Although the advertisement uses an extreme sports ‘bungee jumping’ to highlight the effectiveness of air pump technology, it serves to startle the viewer into noticing the stark difference which exists between the two brands of shoes worn by the two athletes. The person wearing the ordinary shoe is ripped off his harness and takes a plunge into the river while the other one wearing the Reebok brand completes the bungee jump successfully aided by the ‘pump’ technology to dilute the effect of the shock at the last moment when the stretch of the rope and gravity interact with each other to buffer the effect of the shock.
The tag line in the advertisement, “It fits a little better than your ordinary athletic shoe” seems an innocuous statement but the visual impact is intense. It seems to exert a shock effect on the viewer who despite being engrossed with any personal activity or thoughts cannot fail to understand the message which this advertisement is trying to convey.
The advertisement creator has been successful in conveying the message in the most forceful and innovative style. Automatically the product is positioned in a segment which is miles apart from the nearest competitor. Obviously the technology must have been patented before the launch and nobody else can build a similar product which allows for successful sales for the Reebok brand in the subsequent market environment. The scenario displayed in the advertisement builds up the scene by showing a bridge located at a great height from the tumultuous river flowing below which can unsettle the nerves of any man, even with nerves of steel.
The intention to take the bungee jump is clear in the next scene where the two athletes take up positions to do so. The camera is then lowered into a shot which highlights the shoes worn by them which appear quite similar to the beholder. The jump itself is a lingering and suspense filled period where the shrieking wind and the time which seems to go on forever adds to the suspense of what will follow.
By this time the beholder is completely enraptured by the scene until he receives the huge shock of one of the athletes falling off into the river. One is still reconciling with the fact of this accident when the scene shifts to the other person whose shoes equipped with the new ‘pump’ technology have saved him from suffering the same fate as his companion. It is at this moment that the beholder completely understands the message the advertisement is trying to convey. Reebok is an established brand among the sports community and its shoes are worn not only by athletes but by ordinary individuals as well who indulge in any kind of outdoor activity, primarily morning or evening strolls as well as jogging.
The brand name has existed for well over a century with the initial foray into shoes business was made by a United Kingdom company who manufactured running shoes (corporate. reebok. com). It was given the ‘Reebok’ brand name in 1958 by the two grandsons of the originator and soon became a name to reckon with in the international shoes market.
Thereafter the company expanded its operations, especially in the US where it was one of the most respected brands as well as the most expensive of the running shoes available in the market. The company excelled in research and development and came up with new products from time to time which catered to the latest demands of the consumer. It came up with innovative products for well identified segments of the market and had success with its ‘Freestyle’ shoe brand aimed at young women indulging in aerobics which was a popular and prevalent form of exercise indulged in to keep weight in check. The ‘Pump’ shoe incorporated a pump, as suggested by the name which inflated with the wearer’s own action of walking and was the brainchild of an innovator, Paul Litchfield who joined the company in 1985 (www. sneakerfreaker. com).
Shoes incorporated air pump technology for imparting a better fit to the wearer by adjusting according to the individual anatomical variations were prevalent in the market but all needed external pumps to inflate them. The ‘Pump’ by Reebok incorporated a design where the mere walking action of the wearer inflated and released the air according to the anatomical conformations of the foot/ankle it surrounded.
Reebok was able to patent this technology and initially introduced it in the United States as a basketball shoe which met with tremendous response and it became popular as a status symbol among anybody indulging in any kind of sports activity in high schools across America. The company has been able to sustain its popularity and indulges in advertising campaigns involving millions of dollars which keep it ahead of the rivals worldwide.
The 80s era during which this advertisement was popularized was an era of great competition between rival companies such as Coca Cola and Pepsi who undertook huge investments in television based commercials as it had reached almost every part of the world. TV ad campaigns such as the ‘Pump’ by Reebok therefore had tremendous visual impact which translated into effective sales and huge profits for the company. This particular advertisement was timed precisely at the moment when bungee jumping was catching up as a popular new adventure sport, which invoked awe as well as a sense of adventure in the participant as well as the beholder.
The campaign was thus appropriately timed and strategically designed to grab attention on the television. The advertisement has been successful in positioning the ‘pump’ as an exclusive object of desire due to the tremendous benefits and convenience it imparts to the wearer in terms of enhanced comfort and enhancement of physical prowess due to a more comfortable wear backed on its exclusive design and inbuilt technology. Initial popularization as a basketball shoe with the then popular stars of basketball in the US was successful in grabbing the attention of sportspersons worldwide and this particular ad reinforced the notion in everybody’s that it was the most desirable product for an active sportsperson.
Works Cited Reebok History, online information accessed Nov 27, 2009 at: http: //corporate. reebok. com/en/reebok_history/default. asp Reebok Pump Designer - Paul Litchfield, online article accessed Nov 27, 2009 at: http: //www. sneakerfreaker. com/articles/reebok-pump-desinger-paul-litchfield/ What do advertisers mean by strategy? , online article accessed Nov 26, 2009 at: http: //drypen. in/advertising/advertising-strategy. html