Hi there, my name is Chris Bruyere. I head up Global Creative Communications here at Reebok, which includes Advertising, Internal Creative Services (Reebok Productions) and Brand development. How’d I get here? Well, after spending many years working at various Advertising agencies in Los Angeles and San Francisco, I was fortunate enough to get an opportunity to join Reebok 3-1/2 years ago. I had always wanted to be in the Sportswear marketing world, so when I was given an opportunity to play a role in the resurgence of a former powerhouse brand in Reebok, I jumped at the chance. I packed up my family and we traveled East (stopping only to buy snow boots, mittens and shovels on the way).
Fast forward 3 years and I was asked to write a blog post to coincide with the upcoming campaign launch of our new brand platform and tagline – Be More Human. I’m grateful to have been asked to share my thoughts or experience with you all, but it’s important to note, the creation of this idea, this marketing platform has involved so many.
Reebok = Fitness
My part of the story starts just over two years ago, but the foundation was poured by Matt O’Toole and others well before that when the Brand’s new purpose was made clear. It’s comparable to building a house. No matter the style, you always start from the ground up. And so it was for Be More Human. In January 2013, real momentum could be felt throughout the organization – the product was looking incredible, distribution was being cleaned up, margins were on the rise, lucrative partnerships were forming, amazing new people were joining the ranks across departments and markets and we finally knew our “why.” The ship was beginning to take sail.
However, with all of this positive momentum, there remained a significant challenge – how do we connect emotionally with people? With “The Sport of Fitness” we were defining our new space – Fitness. “Live With Fire” signaled to the converted masses that we understood why Fitness was their passion – because it fueled the life around them. However, neither of these campaigns caused a visceral reaction from consumers. Neither drew a line in the sand – forcing people to either be with us or against us. We in essence were whispering in the wind.
Although the brand purpose was clear, expressing that purpose in an exciting and emotive manner proved a challenge. That’s when several of us decided to truly start from the ground up.
The Brand Book.
Working with a small task force internally and several agencies externally, we set off down a path to define clearly the brand’s foundation – how its history has helped shape its future, its values, it’s personality and those we call our tribe. Given Reebok’s eclectic past, the development of the Brand Book would take the contribution of many across the organization – we needed to respect the past but also be bold enough to blaze a new trail.
Almost a year later, the Reebok Brand Book was complete. Still, it wasn’t enough. This brand and the challenge of expressing the Brand’s unique POV deserved the best in creative agencies. So, we conducted a global creative agency pitch, narrowing from a list of 40 that included agencies across several countries. One agency was able to win our hearts and minds, to demonstrate a firm grasp of what makes our brand, product and people unique. After a 3-month review process we selected Venables Bell & Partners out of San Francisco, CA as our new Global Advertising Creative Agency.
The idea they pitched to us?
Be More Human.
The campaign we’re launching now has grown considerably, adding plenty of dimension from what was first pitched, but the soul of the idea as well as many of the tactics and creative executions remain. Through the tremendous effort and passion and experience of so many others internally, including several more agencies externally, we finally have a campaign and platform that will cause people to take notice of the new Reebok. This campaign will strike a chord with many and potentially turn away a few. It will send a message to the category, our customers, our partners, our competitors our tribe, that ‘although we make things that fit around the body, what makes them unique is how they serve what’s within.’ And so it begins…