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New Balance pushes social side of running

SOLO NO MORE: Print ads from New Balance's "Runnovation" campaign show an early-morning group workout (left) and women on a night run, promoting running as more of a social activity.


    Jul 10, 2013

    New Balance pushes social side of running

    ONCE perceived as largely a solitary pursuit, running is, today, a more social endeavour, as runners train with friends.

    Now, New Balance hopes to capture this ethos of running with a campaign it calls "Runnovation", which promotes running as more of a social activity and part of a training regimen.

    "Redefine girls' night out," says the headline of one print ad that shows a group of women running in Boston at night. The copy continues: "Thursday night. 9.15pm. Some go out. Others go out and make excellent happen. The night is yours. This is Runnovation."

    Online videos and print ads also highlight the November Project, a free, all-weather running-focused exercise group that works out three times a week in the Boston area.

    New Balance, which declined to reveal the expenditure for the campaign, spent US$14.4 million (S$18.5 million) on advertising last year, according to the Kantar Media unit of WPP.

    Ms Hilary Keates, director of global marketing and brand management at New Balance, said the brand has moved away from showing runners alone in advertising in recent years.

    "It's less about being alone on a road and more about that community that you get out in the running world," she said.

    She said that the objective of the new campaign was "to really document those changes, of running being more social and participatory, and to show how we, as a brand, are really pushing the envelope in terms of that evolution in running".

    Running is increasingly popular, with 50.1 million Americans running at least once in 2011, up from 42.5 million in 2009, a rise of 17.8 per cent, according to the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association.

    One indication that runners are gravitating to groups may be the diminished interest in running alone in home gyms.

    In the home market for large cardio equipment, such as treadmills, revenue fell 30 per cent in 2011 and 25 per cent last year, according to SportsOneSource.