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Posted: February 8, 2007

Athletics: New Balance Refocuses Commitment To Dedicated Runners With Launch Of NBx Initiative

“NBx is everything New Balance knows about running. Raised to the X power.”

BOSTON – New Balance Athletic Shoe, Inc. will refocus the brand’s long-time commitment to dedicated runners with the launch of the NBx initiative for 2007. As part of this initiative, a select division within New Balance has been dedicated to concentrate solely on the company’s elite running business. The initiative will include print advertising, online elements, outdoor (guerilla advertising), event sponsorships, and an in-store component. A collection of elite running footwear and apparel products will also be branded NBx.

“Our corporate heritage has always been as a performance running brand,” says Paul Heffernan, executive vice president of global marketing at New Balance. “This renewed commitment to the dedicated runner is a natural extension of our day-to-day focus on meeting the needs of real runners and our elite specialty business.”

A New Division at NB
New Balance recently established a dedicated team focused exclusively on the company’s elite running specialty business. The NBx Division is a cross-functional, entrepreneurial and autonomous team based in Lawrence, MA at the company’s manufacturing and R&D facility. This team works closely with the New Balance Advanced Concepts team and is responsible for NBx running footwear and apparel styles sold within the running specialty channel. Core functions embedded in the team include sales, integrated marketing, apparel and footwear product management, design, and development. Also part of the new division, New Balance technical field representatives will obtain elite-specific training, including pedorthic training, so they can best service these running specialty stores.

“The NBx team possesses a singular clarity of purpose and direction and embodies our deep rooted passion for the sport of running,” says Dave Shelbourne, global team leader of the NBx Division. “This new division will apply appropriate lean NB EE principles to give us the best of both worlds; a small, nimble and decisive team with access to our larger company resources.”

Marketing
The NBx marketing campaign captures the essence of the dedicated runner, with photography portraying an actual “day-in-the-life” of real runners. The series of images compose the NBx “mindset” and showcase the individual passion, drive, and determination of these runners. The images demonstrate the runners’ deep devotion to the sport and their willingness to push themselves and their running to the next level – to the X power – distinguishing them from the more casual runner or weekend warrior.

“The NBx campaign speaks directly to the dedicated runner, those athletes who relentlessly push themselves to improve their personal performance,” says Heffernan.

To best portray the motivations and daily behavior of a dedicated runner, New Balance will feature everyday real runners in their NBx print ads. A male and female runner were shadowed by a film crew during their typical day to provide insight on their everyday running routine and real-life images for use in the campaign. The campaign tags highlight the key running motivations these runners expressed during their filming, including desirex, heartx, dedicationx.

The NBx campaign will also include a series of product-focused ads that highlight the new collection of footwear and apparel products and emphasize the key technologies in each of the products that raise them to the next level of performance. The NBx collection is a select group of running footwear and apparel that features the premium New Balance performance technologies, such as N-Lock®, Acteva® Ultra Lite, and the TS2® Transitional Support System in footwear, as well as BioCool®, and the Phantom Waistband™ in apparel. The tag on each of these product-focused ads stresses the particular end-user benefit that each technology provides, such as comfortx, dryx, supportx.

The full campaign tag line reads “NBx is everything New Balance knows about running. Raised to the X power.”

The print campaign will appear in vertical running publications such as Runner’s World, Running Network, and Running Times starting this month. The products that will be highlighted include the 1061, 767, 902, 873 running shoes, as well as the women’s Saba Short, men’s Intrepid Tight, and men’s Helio Short Sleeve apparel pieces.

The NBx campaign will be integrated into a variety of online mediums including banner ads, newsletters, marathon training content and running message boards on sites including runnersworld.com, runningtimes.com, and active.com. NBx retail support programs, regional and national running event sponsorships and outdoor advertising efforts around the Boston, Chicago, and New York marathons are also part of the 2007 campaign.

Boathouse Group Inc. of Waltham, MA developed the NBx creative and handled the media buy.

New Balance, headquartered in Boston, MA, is a leading manufacturer of technologically innovative width-sized performance footwear and athletic apparel for women, men, and children. The range of product categories includes running, walking, training, basketball, tennis, cleated and kids. New Balance Athletic Shoe, Inc. employs more than 2,800 people around the globe, and in 2005 reported worldwide sales of $1.54 billion. For more information please visit www.newbalance.com.


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