“We are not encouraging people to just run faster for the sake of being faster. We are saying that ultimately you will be able to enjoy life if you take the time to cater to your own humanity.”
–Matt O´Toole (Reebok President)
Reebok has been a really interesting brand lately.
Their commitment to fitness has been a bold move and also makes perfect sense (as we have to also bear in mind that Reebok is owned by Adidas). Especially there has been tremendous growth in “tough fitness” which includes crossfit, martial arts and other “more demanding than your regular Zumba”-activities. What started out as a niche exercise has become now mainstream and everyone is flipping tires these days: me as well.
During the latest Super Bowl, Reebok launched their new brand belief piece “Be More Human”:
I like it (mainly because I am part of target audience). Also because the message Reebok conveys is part of my whole life philosophy. I don´t eat to live, I don´t train to live. I live to train & eat. Sports is not just a way to prevent your inevitable physical deterioration, it also strengthens you mentally and socially.
Training hard improves you as a person. Competing against others makes you tougher but it is also social. I have learned more from teamwork, leadership and grit from basketball court than from work. When you push it to the limits in sports, you are more likely to be able to push it to the limits with other things as well.
And that belief I heartily endorse.
The other reason why Reebok´s message is compelling is that it is not for all. Reeboks has made a deliberate decision to be exclusive. Their core focus is in tough fitness and quite hardcore training with blood, blisters, sweat, snot, tears and tear down. Whereas the usual scared brand advertiser would have expanded the target audience and showed people doing all the mundane fitness moves and have message about how “fitness is for everyone”, Reebok kept the focus. Reebok is for those who train hard (or think they train hard, like me). The almost brutal nature of their ads is refreshing compared to the touchy-feely lifestyle-routes the majority of sports brands have chosen.
“We’re confident that when we push ourselves, we not only transform our bodies, we transform our entire lives.”
That brings us to the last point. They are expanding, but they are promoting the whole category of tough fitness (which can basically mean quite diverse things) and training hard. Their message resonates naturally to those who currently are sport freaks, but it also has appeal to people who push themselves in other things in life. Showcasing the more “holistic” (in the lack of better word) benefits of intense exercise, they collaborated with scientist David McRaney and created the Human score to calculate your level of humanness:
It is a human nature to be a sucker for tests and I could not wait to test my humanness. I was luckily still more close to human than android. “Brain buff” also sounds like a new upcoming fad term like spornosexual:
As part of the campaign there is also a selfie competition (because no brand is perfect) and some other infographics about how training affects your brain.
Reebok is at least having tight focus on what they are doing. I believe that it will also pay off, if they have the perseverance and patience to follow their daring brand belief through.