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Brand Yatra: From individualistic to invitational, Reebok ‘Ree-focuses’

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Brand Yatra: From individualistic to invitational, Reebok ‘Ree-focuses’

Reebok has been present in India for 15 years now, and in this time has successfully moved from a sports brand to a fitness and lifestyle brand. With its new philosophy of ‘Ree’, the brand is now looking to re-energise its India strategy and widen its consumer base in the country.

Brand: Reebok

Past and Present Agency: McCann Erickson

The History:

Reebok has constantly redefined the fitness industry through its 1,000-member strong instructor alliance in India. It has a global tie-up with Cirque De Soleil for Jukari - Fit to fly fitness programme. In India, Reebok has supported the same movement by tying up with choreographer Shiamak Davar to launch a fun Reebok Bollywood Workout.

As a brand, Reebok is rooted in the ideology of sport. It has maintained consistent and clear dominance in cricket through sponsorships and grassroots initiatives. Endorsed by nine players of the ICC Twenty20 World Champion’s team, eight-year long partnership with ICC and by being the official outfitter for four IPL teams, Reebok dominates cricket in India. Reebok also sponsors talented athletes in tennis, football and is also the first sports brand to be associated with Force India – India’s Formula One team.

This apart, Reebok has launched exclusive Juniors Stores in India and exclusive concept stores for Lifestyle – Reebok Classics and Reebok Women.

As a retail brand, Reebok has taken experiential marketing to a whole new high through several large format stores, such as the 15,000 sq ft Reebok store in Hyderabad, said to be the biggest Reebok store in the world.

Current Positioning:

Speaking to exchange4media, Sajid Shamim, Director of Sales & Marketing, Reebok India, said, “During the earlier phases of Reebok’s growth in India, the advertising revolved around the concept of ‘I am what I am’. We were a brand that encouraged people do their own thing, be comfortable in their own shoes and be proud of it. Our advertising used unique personality traits of our athletes to communicate the spirit of ‘I am what I am’ and inspire consumers to be strong, independent and wilful.”

He added, “However, change being the only constant in today’s world, Reebok has always strived to keep abreast of the changes our consumers are going through. Today, Reebok is about the joy of sport. It’s about enjoying the process as opposed to enjoying the end result. Our attitude of joy in sports and fitness inspires everything we do – from the products we create, to our marketing, to the athletes who endorse our brand.”

‘Reefreshed’ Thinking:

Shamim further said, “The Reebok tone now is fun, bold and provocative. This year, we have taken a fresh approach with the ‘Ree’ concept, wherein consumers are asked to ‘Reethink’ their perception of sports, and remember why they play, sweat and cheer – because it’s fun.”

Reebok has also changed its earlier tagline of ‘I am what I am’ to ‘Your Move’, which, according to Shamim highlighted a shift from an individualistic approach to an invitational approach, wherein the brand encouraged a world where people made their own decisions.

“‘Ree’ is a new, fresh way for us to communicate who we are and what we stand for as a brand. ‘Ree’ is a bright voice for the brand that remains true to the Reebok DNA and puts the brand in the centre of the conversation and the creative. ‘Reetone’, ‘Reejoy’, ‘Reezig’, ‘Reethink’, ‘Reeenergise’ and more are the various ways in which we are our communicating our new products and concepts today,” he added.

The ‘Reetone’ Ad

Commenting on the Reebok ‘Reetone’ ad for the Easy Tonen range of shoes for women, Shamim said, “The ‘Reetone’ Easy Tone ad is a joyous, fun celebration of women that shows that no matter where they are, women are getting great legs and a great butt with every step. We wanted to ensure that the TVC portrayed very self confident and stylish women and that we told this story in a fun and entertaining way from the moods, rhythm, and movement of the women to the music. And although we focussed on great legs and butts, we also made sure that the distinct personalities and playfulness of women in everyday situations did not get lost. Since a lot of women can relate to the ad, maybe that is what that makes the ad endearing.”

Agency’s Perspective:

Debashish Paul, Senior Vice-President and General Manager, McCann Erickson, said, “McCann Erickson has been handling the Reebok account for nearly six years. The brand has grown from strength to strength over the years. The width of products and audiences has expanded, especially with the strategic focus on products designed for women – sports footwear and apparels. The core brand pillars of authenticity, smartness, simplicity and fun have been reflective consistently in all brand communications. Cricket has been an important strategic building block for the brand, and endorsements from top rung cricket players have added great value to the brand and have upped its appeal for young audiences. Also, the consumer engagement activity outside of conventional advertising has been key to keep energy level of the brand way above competition.”

Onlooker’s Perspective:

Charu Bakshi, President, 4D IMC, noted that Reebok had capitalised on health consciousness at the right time. She said, “The society was becoming health conscious at the same time when Reebok was launched in India. They are more into health and fitness. Consciously, they have moved away from sports. The brand has evolved into a lifestyle and fitness brand.”


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