Shreyas Kulkarni
Advertising runs after the everyday athlete

Sports shoes are not just for the pros; they're the gear for other athletes too.

Sports shoes have left their turf and are now part of the everyday athlete’s uniform. Who’s that? They are the ones whose life is the poster child of hustle. Run to catch the bus, run to catch the train, run to reach the office, run to keep fit and healthy.

They are always on the move and cannot afford to wear sneakers or formal shoes. It is not because they cannot afford them, but the everyday grind does put immense pressure on the feet, and what better than a sturdy, durable, and comfortable sports shoe to cushion the impact?

This was the insight that shaped’s new campaign. It was also the first work from Wunderman Thompson after the WPP-owned advertising agency scored the sport and fitness brand’s creative account earlier this year.

When asked if the ad agency won the account after coming up with this insight during the pitch call, Mohammed Shahbaaz,’s brand head explains that the brand developed the insight, and the “creative agencies had to work on bringing the insight to life. That was part of the pitch.”

We are making shoes and sportswear for everyday athletes, and not for the pro athletes, he stresses.

Seeing the ad, one may assume these everyday athletes come from the metro and Tier I cities, to which Shahbaaz agrees because these regions are the “immediately addressable markets.”

However, the insight of people wearing sports shoes for everyday travel is relevant to most parts of India, he comments and nods to Tier 2 regions where a bus stop or a railway station often makes one walk or travel long distances.

“The process was how you bring alive the idea, and therefore some of the levers used in the ad were more metro centric,” he explains.

The ad’s timing is interesting too because it came during the monsoon when people prefer working from home or not stepping out. Couldn’t have released it earlier or waited till October when say the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup will take place?

Looking at the category, the brand head states, “There is no singular occasion which causes a spike like summers and juice brands.”

He says there is a minor spike near Diwali when discount sales are held and in January when fitness is back in vogue. “We will be consistently available on media till Diwali. 33% of our spends is on TV, and the rest is digital (YouTube, OTT, Meta),” he reveals.

And while it is on till Diwali, the brand, Shahbaaz points out, is equally focused on its distribution with more than 33% of its revenue coming from its online marketplace.

When asked about offline channels, he says the brand is focusing on being visible at multi-brand outlets and starting its own stores too.

Staying on the point of visibility, the upcoming sports events such as the Asian Games and the cricket world cup make for great marketing spots, but the brand head points out is not hell-bent on doling out an ad or two at these events.

“If the right value spots are available in these properties, we will look at them or else reach out to them during the same occasion but through other media channels.” 

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