REEBOK ADS ‘DEFY CONVENTION’

Byline: Rosemary Feitelberg

NEW YORK — A streaker running on a golf course, elephants playing soccer, a Sumo wrestler sprinting and a woman photocopying her derriere are a few of the more offbeat shots in Reebok’s “Defy Convention” TV ad campaign.
The first 60-second spot breaks Sunday during the first episode of “Survivor II: The Australian Outback,” a Reebok-sponsored program, which airs on CBS after the Super Bowl. The commercial features a frenzy of colorful images, interspersed with such messages as “Defy Suburbia,” “Defy Adonis,” “Defy Comparison” and “Defy Tradition.” A remix of the William Tell overture plays throughout the ad.
In “Defy Suburbia,” a few mountainbikers ride through a reflecting pool in front of the Long Beach Performing Arts Center. To illustrate “Defy Electricity,” a man dressed in a full-length orange jumpsuit dashes from what looks like an electric chair.
Reebok’s leading sponsored athletes also make cameos in the commercial, including soccer star Julie Foudy and tennis standout Venus Williams, who inked an estimated $40 million five-year deal with Reebok last month. Unlike the anonymous people featured in the first “Defy Convention” commercial, these athletes are shown digging into their sports. Hoopsters Allen Iverson and Steve Francis and the NFL’s Jevon Kearse are also featured in the spot.
The ad also features a boy in a wheelchair playing baseball and a girl jumping rope feverishly in her bedroom.
The first commercial closes with images of some of Reebok’s more stylish and innovative footwear. The company plans to air at least 10 different “Defy Convention” commercials throughout the year.
Williams will be spotlighted in designer clothes, playing the guitar and in a variety of other nontraditional shots in another “Defy Convention” commercial that will break next month.
Reebok has invested $100 million in its new global campaign with the bulk of that going to TV, and the rest supporting print and some cinema advertising, according to John Wardley, vice president of brand communications.
Developed by Berlin, Cameron and Partners here, the campaign focuses on people who have “defied the odds, encounter difficulties and find the wherewithal to succeed despite those challenges,” Wardley said.
The commercials are part of Reebok’s new global marketing campaign, which includes print ads, point-of-sale material, online efforts and special in-store events. The campaign will run in the U.S., the U.K., France, Germany, Italy and Spain.
“Defy Convention” print ads will break in March issues of such magazines as InStyle, Self, Shape, Jane, Glamour, Details, GQ, Maxim and Entertainment Weekly.
Based in Canton, Mass., Reebok, a $2.9 billion operation, produces its own athletic footwear, activewear and equipment, as well as goods for Rockport, Greg Norman and Ralph Lauren footwear.

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