Saucony Stays ‘Loyal’ in Online, Offline Push

BOSTON Employing a somewhat unconventional strategy, Stride-Rite’s Saucony performance footwear brand has launched customized microsites corresponding to a series of new print ads tagged “Loyal to the sport” and fashioned by Nail Communications.

Online and offline iterations seek to engage consumers by following the stream-of-consciousness monologues that go on inside runners’ heads. For example, in one execution, a Central Park jogger (who wears Saucony Grid Hurricane 8 shoes) mentally muses about running conditions, from the “damn ankle-biting” dogs that chase after him to whether he should leave his job to “get my head together” and improve his time in the 10K.

The print ad copy is rendered in a deliberately vague and difficult-to-read style in order to drive consumers to visit the URLs.

The print ad and microsite for the Hurricane broke several weeks ago. Endorphin executions break this month, while efforts supporting the Grid Trigon 4 shoe are set to debut in June. The work will run through the fall.

Saucony, a unit of Lexington, Mass.-based Stride-Rite, spent about $2.5 million in measured media last year, per TNS Media Intelligence.

Stride-Rite acquired Saucony in June 2005 for $170 million. The parent company last month reported record first-quarter sales of more than $183 million, up 22 percent from the same period a year ago. Saucony contributed nearly $25 million in domestic revenue. The brand ranks third behind Asics and Brooks in the specialty running shoe category. (It also competes against some offerings from Nike.) A Saucony line extension into children’s shoes is planned for this year.

Nail is an independent agency in Providence, R.I. Brian Gross and Alec Beckett served as creative directors on the campaign. Collin Sheehan wrote the copy, Brian Fouhy handled art direction, and Sam Holland and Oliver Devin managed the Web design elements.