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Reebok Case Study: "Reebok: In pursuit of Generation X"

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  1. Using viral marketing, a new way to communicate
    1. Definition of viral marketing
    2. Advantage of using viral marketing instead of traditional media
    3. Limitations and risks of viral marketing
  2. 2003: Reebok and Terry Tate's buzz
    1. How to reach Generation X?
    2. Terry Tate's advertising concept
  3. What are the results of Terry Tate viral campaign
    1. Quantitative results
    2. Qualitative results

Reebok is a large and technological footwear company founded more than 110 years ago. Reebok's history started in 1895 in the United Kingdom, and continued in the United States. It became an international company at the end of the 80s. Today, Reebok's products are sold in 170 countries. This global strategy helped the brand to match the performance of its main competitors: Adidas and Nike. Reebok became one of the 3 market leaders, by sponsoring a lot of athletes and anticipating new trends such as aerobics, sports for women, and casual fashion (using sport-shoes everyday). Moreover, the company created new products, (apparels, T-shirt, bags), so they could stay competitive and a step ahead of its two aggressive competitors. As athletic footwear represented 40% of the total footwear sold, these two brands were taking away most of the market share. Moreover, Adidas and Nike had a fashionable brand-image, which was not true of Reebok which was seen by the public and customers more as a technical brand than ?fashionable? one. Since 1990, Reebok has been using strategic sponsoring of prestigious athletes, like a lot of other sportswear brands. In 2003, Reebok's new marketing campaign changed the image of the company in the customer's mind, and their brand perception of Reebok. This new way of advertising was introduced to the company by Micky Pant, who chose to communicate a new message, to a new target, which Reebok did not really reach before, in a new and innovating way: viral marketing. This strategy is what we will study, by first explaining the concept of viral marketing, and then studying Reebok's new advertizing concept. Finally we will analyze the results of this campaign.

Our society has evolved a lot in the last 20 years, particularly in terms of demography and new technologies. Mentalities have also changed a lot, and we observe new consumer segments, with new consumption needs. To keep abreast of these evolutions, brands have adapted their marketing strategy. This is the case with viral marketing.

Viral marketing is a new way of using the internet to communicate. It is a kind of relational marketing which is being used by more and more companies, as traditional media (billboards, TV, radio, cinema, magazines) are over used and are becoming less efficient. Viral marketing is different from traditional media as it puts internet users at the center of the communication process. Internet users, especially the ones who are ?bloggers?, are targeted by the brand, which use viral marketing to seduce them. It is an interactive way of communication, because not only is the web user affected, but he also helps spread the message by sharing the links, videos, and ideas with others internet users. The consumer is not just the receiver; he can now become the transmitter. However, it is not that easy to make the consumer take an active role in spreading the brand message. There are some important points which must be implemented to ensure his involvement:

[...] The Terry Tate advertising concept The members of Generation X were between 24 and 35 years old in 2003. As we saw in part one, viral marketing is very efficient among the people who are in this age range. That is why Micky Pant chose this type of advertising. As we can see through this case study, he studied this community extensively to understand what would make them laugh, what their aspirations were, and how they reacted in different situations. [...]


[...] Viral marketing can be in the form of a post on a blog criticizing a brand, a video showing the faults of a product, or complains on a forum about a service or a product. That is what happens most of the time. Thus, it is perhaps the first rule to respect. The brand must create the message and manage it before it is spread on the web by internet users. b. Advantage of using viral marketing instead of traditional media Viral marketing can be a complement of traditional media, if the following points are kept in mind: - To a certain extent, it can be more efficient than a traditional media campaign. [...]


[...] How may we reach Generation Reebok has always had trouble convincing the members of Gen X. This generation which came after baby-boomers has very delimited aspirations, and is really hard to reach because of their principles. ?They are in a quest for a good and yearn for a balance between their career and their personal life. Moreover, they don't want to be like their parents. Why would Reebok especially like to reach this target? The first reason is that they spend a lot (125 billion a year on consumer good in the and represent 17% of the American population (50 million of members). [...]

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