Getting Back To Asics

VitroRobertson Evolves an Earlier Campaign
LOS ANGELES–VitroRobertson asks consumers to tell the truth in its new campaign for Asics athletic shoes.
The estimated $5 million print campaign plays off the San Diego agency’s previous Asics ads, which used the line “This is the truth” and aimed to tell truths about sporting activities. The new ads are an evolution of that earlier campaign, and now involve the consumer, explained agency principal John Vitro.
All five ads–running as spreads and half-spreads, each divided into four panels of dark-toned black-and-white and color photos–delve into the hidden motivations of the target buyers. They begin by directly addressing the consumer: “Let us ask you something. And tell us the truth.” From there, each ad takes its own separate track.
The ad for the Asics Gel Tech Walker, for example, goes on to ask: “When you first started walking, did it amaze you that something you’ve known how to do almost your entire life could make you feel so good?” The copy is superimposed over images of a woman’s face, a baby taking its first tenuous steps, a woman power walking and the shoe itself in the bottom right corner.
“Asics is a performance shoe company that appeals to very serious athletes, or, as we call them, ‘core enthusiasts,'” said Vitro. “Asics understands [these enthusiasts] and provides them with the same passion in the product.”
A spread for the Asics running shoe features images of beer and pizza, with copy that asks: “Do you hate the taste of energy bars? Do you prefer the taste of pizza?” It concludes with: “When you see all these running ads that show people running in poetic places like Death Valley at dawn, do you just wonder? Wonder where you could find cold beer in Death Valley?” The final photo shows a man running past a liquor store.
A third ad, for the GT-2040 and GEL-Kayano shoes, shows a man running in the park, with the text: “Does it bug you when somebody passes you? Does it bug you so much, you secretly plot out strategy for the rest of your run, so that you can overtake them, and pass them?”
The ads will begin appearing next month in People, Runner’s World, Sports Illustrated, Shape, ESPN, Glamour, Outside, Self, Men’s Health and other sports, fitness and general interest magazines, said Vitro. The agency will also create in-store posters and direct mail pieces for the client.
VitroRobertson won the account of Fountain Valley, Calif.-based Asics Tiger Corp. in 1996 after a review of Southern California shops.