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New Balance Turns Brick-and-Mortar Stores Into Online Video Hubs

Pushes retail sales

New Balance will launch mini red carpet events in 50 specialty running stores on Thursday to show off a video experience that helps launch the new 880v4 athletic running shoe.

Instead of driving e-commerce sales, the events are meant to lure foot traffic because the 880v4 is only available at certain brick-and-mortar retailers. Some of the retailers include Marathon Sports in Boston, Fit Right Northwest in Portland, Ore., and Runner’s Edge in Farmingdale, N.Y.

"We have not done anything like this in the past, and we're trying to offer better content from the product team ... more direct and accurate content about this specific model," said Tom Taylor, run specialty channel support lead at New Balance.

At 7 p.m. ET on Thursday, shoppers will be able to watch a live Q&A video powered by Brandlive promoting the new shoe. During the live broadcast, two New Balance executives will address questions and other related topics on the brand and the shoe’s selling points.

Store employees will be sent a link to New Balance’s microsite so that they can set up their own events, and 100 to 150 New Balance field reps went through training earlier this week so that they can field questions from shoppers.

According to Taylor, most of the retailers participating have flatscreens and Internet access to stream the video broadcast. The red carpet parties will also include props and photographers to elevate the in-store experience.

New Balance is promoting the event on its website and via Facebook and Twitter, but the bulk of promotion leading up to the event will be done by the retailers’ email and social media efforts.

Golf club brand TaylorMade also ran a campaign with Brandlive, which pulled in 1,312 broadcast participants and 1,019 clicks to either purchase or demo its SLDR clubs. The average viewer spent 17.2 minutes watching the broadcast, which logged 908 comments.

While TaylorMade’s campaign was more focused on entertaining at-home viewers with footage from the PGA tour truck, New Balance’s effort appears interesting since it combines digital assets with specialty retail stores known for a high level of customer service.

"These specialty stores are not competing with Dick’s Sporting Goods or something like that. They can offer an exclusive product and an exclusive service that you couldn’t get at a different channel store," said Fritz Brumder, CEO and co-founder of Brandlive.

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