BROOKS RUNNING SHOES
AGENCY Borders, Perrin & Norrander, Portland, Ore.
CLIENT Brooks Sports, Bothell, Wash.
MEDIUM running & fitness magazines
CREATIVE DIRECTOR Terry Schneider
ART DIRECTOR Tia Doar
COPYWRITERS Jim Haven, Troy Asplund
PHOTOGRAPHY Steve Bonini (runner), Mark Hooper (product)
"Some runners are for display only," the copy begins. "Fortunately for them, so are some shoes." Ooh, harsh words. It's one thing to attack your competitors, quite another to attack their customers. Here's the problem: It's a safe bet that most of the people in Brooks' target audience have owned a pair of Nikes or Reeboks at one time or another. So how smart is it for the ad to insult anyone who's had those brands in his closet? If Brooks wants to position itself as the shoe for serious runners-and its vastly larger competitors as mere fashion merchandisers-that's fine. But it ought to be possible to do so in a way people find ingratiating rather than off-putting. Later, the copy does hit its stride, stressing that "at Brooks, we invest in products, not hype." The sales pitch gets little help from its one-word headline: "deviate." For one thing, the imperative voice is poorly suited to a message urging people to go their own way. For another, "deviate" just isn't an attractive word, replete as it is with unpleasant overtones ranging from deviated septum to deviant.
MERRELL HIKING BOOTS
AGENCY Crispin Porter Bogusky, Miami
CLIENT Merrell, Grand Rapids, Mich.
MEDIUM consumer magazines
CREATIVE DIRECTOR Alex Bogusky
ART DIRECTOR David Clemans
COPYWRITERS Tom Adams, Tim Roper
PHOTOGRAPHY Louis Jay,Tricia Chang, stock
You know God is on a roll when he starts getting favorable mention in ads aimed at the young and the attitudinal. Granted, the reference here isn't altogether reverent, but it's not derisive, either. Once you've been lured into the ad by its infernal headline, captions provide a seamless mix of information and hipness. For instance: "Our instep control lacing system puts a stop to crippling blisters and those embarrassing helicopter rescues." The headline on another ad in the series: "At this point you should be contemplating the meaning of life, not how to take off your little toe with an ice ax." The oddball humor works on the client's behalf, instead of merely entertaining readers, because it aligns well with Merrell's motto: "On your feet. Not on your mind." Other boot companies may imagine you go hiking in order to glory in the marvels of your equipment; Merrell knows its place. If its boots can keep feet quietly content, experienced hikers will understand that they're invaluable.