Athletic Shoe Makers Tie Into Marathon

BOSTON Nike and Reebok are presenting new advertising related to the 107th annual Boston Marathon on Monday.

Canton, Mass.-based Reebok will unveil a new campaign that will include a “building light-up” advertisement on Boston’s Prudential Center tower beginning Friday evening. The ad will feature four distinct branding messages, one for each night through Monday, written for the runners, along with the company’s logo. The first message will read, simply, “Welcome runners.”

Saturday’s message will read, “Anyone can run a mile … It’s the last 25.2 that matter,” while on Sunday the building will say, “Bib? Carbs? Rest? Reebok? Good luck runners.” On Monday, during the race, the building display will read, “Congratulations runners.”

The outdoor ads are supplemented by a poster displayed inside the Prudential Center that shows a woman stretching in a pair of the running shoes.

This weekend Reebok will also debut two new running shoe models in its Premier Running Collection at the John Hancock Health and Fitness Expo at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston.

During the marathon itself, a Reebok-sponsored street team will hand out “forehead tattoos” reading, “Reebok … The Pain Train Is Coming” in reference to the company’s fictitious “Terry Tate,” also known as the “Pain Train.” That character, an overzealous office manager who “punishes” poorly performing co-workers, appeared in recent TV spots created by the Arnell Group in New York.

Separately, Beaverton, Ore.-based Nike is running outdoor ads supporting the marathon and featuring both well-known runners and ordinary citizens running the race. Longtime agency Weiden + Kennedy, Portland, Ore., handles.

One ad, featuring marathoner (and University of Massachusetts professor) Connie Chan, shows her 3:20:33 time in large print above her portrait. A Nike running shoe appears underneath, along with a link to nikerunning.com, where visitors can create, star in and e-mail their own Nike ads.

Those ads are appearing in Boston’s subway stations, shopping centers and other establishments.