As a runner, I'm regularly amused by advertisers' attempts to tap into the zeitgeist of an activity that can at times border on the masochistic. Now, New Balance is writing another sorry chapter in the history of running-shoe advertising. The brand's new spot has a guy running around with feet coming out of his forehead. You see, it's a crazy metaphor for runners thinking of their achy feet all the time, rather than losing themselves in the simple pleasures of a jog. An ER doc fixes things with a brand-new pair of New Balance shoes. This is pretty disappointing from New Balance and BBDO. Their previous "Love/Hate Anthem" nicely captured the complexity of an activity that's addictive yet features inevitable discomfort and the struggle against the understandable impulse to stay put. It would have been nicer to see New Balance take the production budget for the silly feet-on-forehead spot and pour it into "Chasing Kimbia," a Web documentary series the brand has sponsored that puts the spotlight on the often-anonymous lives of great Kenyan runners. That's stuff that will connect more with runners than obtuse metaphors.
—Posted by Brian Morrissey