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Stop at Never? Asics says it’s ok to wear their shoes with jeans or even in a marathon.

Posted Nov 22 2011 5:19pm

Asics launched a new ad campaign during the lead-up to the New York City Marathon, and the company’s new marketing veep, Erik Forsell, sat down with Ad Age for the typical PR lovefest that marketing veeps sit down for.

And that’s ok. The subject of running shoes does not need the same seriousness as politics.

Forsell didn’t break any new ground with the direction that the Asics brand is going (in fact, the company’s Ryan Hall ad I wrote about last week will bring more initial buzz than anything Forsell said). And I wouldn’t have even pointed out Forsell’s conversation with Ad Age’s Natalie Zmuda but for the (slightly) humorous answers Forsell gave.

The must read sections: (That’s me smirking in italics)

Forsell on how they are staying ahead of the competition: “Everything we do is performance, but the goal with the new looks is to give people permission to wear them when they’re not running. Yes, you can wear it to the grocery store, but you can also run a marathon in them. We don’t want to go as far over as Puma, where we’re all about style. We’re going to do both, but we’ll never stop being a performance brand.”

Whew! Glad they are not going to add high heels to my Asics Sky Speeds and good to know they’ll carry me through the frozen foods section of Whole Foods.

Forsell on what CEO Kevin Wulff told him he must do: “… making sure the salespeople have the product on their feet, so that when a customer asks about it, they can say, ‘Yeah, I’m wearing it. I’ve run in it, and it’s great.’ We’ve always seeded product, but now we’re going to get more surgical about it. Who’s getting it? Why do we put it on their feet? How can they influence people?”

You mean my shoe person hasn’t even run one mile in the shoes he is trying to sell me?

Forsell on what trends he is seeing with marathons: “Stop at Never (campaign). It’s all about how you never stop pushing and trying to be your best. Marathons have been so big, but we think there’s a big contingency of people who are asking, “What’s next? I’ve run 26.2 miles, but can I swim and bike also?” I don’t think the growth in marathons is going to stop, but I think it’s going to lead to the next phase of growth for other things: triathlons, endurance running. Our head of global marketing just ran a 100k race. Even he’s wondering how he can push himself even further.”

You go ahead with that 100k… I’m gonna go sit in a tub of ice and drink a beer after I’m done with my next mary.

I know, I know. What else did we expect Forsell to say.


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