Reebok Pursuing Generation X

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Reebok: Pursuing Generation X
Reebok is a global, American inspired brand, in a highly competitive athletic and sportswear industry, committed to creating products and marketing programs that reflect the brand’s unlimited creative potential (Reebok). The 2003 rankings place Reebok in third place of U.S. athletic shoe market share with 13%; Nike dominates at 36% while other athletic brands make up 26% of the U.S. market (Sporting Goods Intelligence). In 1982, Reebok was a main component in introducing a women’s athletic shoe designed specifically for the latest trend in exercise known as aerobic dance. This, as we all know, was not a trend but rather an athletic revolution towards women’s fitness and increase entrance into sports, which expanded the target market for the athletic and the sportswear industry. The acceptance of sneakers as an adult casual wear evolved in the 1980’s as well as a market prediction that was a catalyst to the early success of Reebok as an athletic brand leader.

Since the 1980’s, the market environment has changed dramatically and has proven to be a complex and highly competitive advertising arena. Print and TV ads of the past are no longer the premier marketing platforms as they once were. The athletic and sporting goods companies of today must bring to the consumers a compelling and gripping advertising campaign to earn the attention and revenue of today’s technology driven consumer. Target markets are evolving from the baby boomer era to the Gen Xers and with that shift, comes a new consumer ideology and therefore new marketing strategies. The advertising mediums that companies utilize are challenged to reach an elusive target audience guarded by TiVo technology, mobile internet as well as personal philosophies seeking purpose and added value, even in product selection. This case outlined advertising challenges, as well as opportunities Reebok faced in an expanding digital media world and its players; Generation X.

Question 1: How would the team explain viral marketing to the class? Viral marketing wasn’t made up out of thin air; it started before the birth of the Internet under another name known as word-of-mouth. There are many differences between the two strategies but the principle is identical: exchange information about an event, place, person or idea from one outlet to another. So, to understand how viral marketing works one must understand word-of-mouth.

Word-of mouth marketing is when a company provides consumers, a reason to bring up their company in normal conversation. This could be from an ad on the television, a flyer that you saw downtown in a deli, or maybe an advertisement that you heard on a radio station that caught your attention while you were driving. That sounds a lot like viral marketing, but a person only has so many hours in the day; so why would they ever think of calling all of their friends/family up to tell them about something they saw, previous to their conversation? Unless it was a catastrophic event or something that was deeply related to them personally, that’s just not likely to happen. With viral marketing, there are two main components that are needed: a large audience, and a way to spread information exponentially, also known as the Internet. The first traces of Internet viral marketing were, according to “The Virus of Marketing”, in 1997 when Hotmail attached ads to outgoing messages. It was rather astonishing the reaction that the public had after forwarding the ads to other email addresses, allowing users to reach thousands of potential clients in the matter of a few easy clicks. These were only the primitive years of viral marketing, and it has become one of the most valued marketing strategies of the 21st century.

The term ‘viral marketing’ is one that is used, both, on a regular and large scale. This is mostly due to the highly populated areas, such as YouTube and other social media outlets where video, music, photographs, ideas and other...
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