Reebok debuts social-networking site with Run Easy campaign

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Athletic company Reebok is reaching out to customers directly with a new interactive Web site as part of its "Run Easy" campaign.

The message is that running is a casual sport for runners of all speeds, not one reserved for the marathoner. The campaign stresses the social aspects of running with friends at a chat-friendly pace. The site emphasizes this social theme with a social-networking functionality.

"In digital you can be so much more special," said Richard Prenderville, head of global brand marketing at Reebok, Canton, MA. "With a site, you let people become a part of the campaign instead of just telling them what it is and expecting them to accept that. On the site they can interact and really become a part of it."

The new site at www.goruneasy.com features interactive features to get consumers to connect with one another and with the brand. They include a social network and a blog where consumers can upload photos of themselves running through Flikr, music to run to and running trails with the help of an embedded Google Maps' functionality.

The site connects to the e-commerce store at www.reebok.com where consumers can purchase products directly.

To promote the site, Reebok has placed links on Yahoo's Sports page and other sports sites.

In addition, the campaign features a 60-second spot that will run both on TV and on the Web site. It features runners at various speeds out on runs in cities and out in nature worldwide, illustrating the reach of the audience that Reebok is going for. The demographic is anyone from a Sunday walker to a marathon trainer.

The campaign also features outdoor promotional posters in various cities calling consumers to the site. The messaging on these posters is locally targeted. For example, a New York poster reads "Not Everything Has to Be Done in a New York Minute."

The "Run Easy" campaign and interactive site were debuted during a press walk from Reebok's Sports Club in New York through Central Park. MTV VJ and former Miss SA Susie Castillo, Atlanta Falcon's football player DeAngleo Hall and Reebok's chief marketing officer Uli Becker led the walk to demonstrate the casual nature of walking and talking.

"Everybody has different potential and the Reebok brand is about getting the individual to live to their specific potential," Mr. Becker said.

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