Just for Feet Returns

BOSTON-Just for Feet, vilified two years ago for a controversial Super Bowl commercial, has returned to the airwaves.

Last week, Boston-based Velocity Advertising broke three spots for the shoe-store chain that target serious runners. The ads steer clear of controversy, using colorful, flashy images of male and female runners.

In one spot, a voiceover asks, “Are you serious about running?” A Just for Feet store appears onscreen, with flashes of runners, shoes and sneakers, and the screen copy, “Run to live. Live to run.” Another ad shows people playing sports and shots of store interiors. The new tagline: “Just right for you.”

Spending is estimated at about $15 million. The ads are airing primarily in southern U.S. markets and are the first of 10 spots that will roll out through June, said Lisa Hickey, Velocity founder.

“Basically we are trying to build back our brand equity,” said Melanie Lucardi, advertising manager at the Mahwah, N.J., client, noting the chain wants to emphasize its selection and highly trained staff.

Velocity won the account in January, without a review. Cleveland Communications, also here, handles media.

Just for Feet got national media atten tion in 1999 with “Kenya,” a TV spot that aired during Super Bowl XXXIII. The ad showed an African runner being “hunted” by Just for Feet employees, who give him sedative-spiked water and Nike sneakers. The client balked at paying Saatchi & Saatchi Business Communications in Rochester, N.Y., its fees for “Kenya,” prompting an exchange of lawsuits [Adweek, June 24, 1999].