K-Swiss Doubles Down on Digital

  |  April 13, 2012   |  Comments

Its agency of record, Mile 9, talks about targeting hardcore runners online.

K-Swiss, traditionally known as a casual sneaker, is doubling its digital spend this year for efforts that take aim at marathon runners and triathletes. This comes on the heels of a more print-leaning approach in 2011 that saw year over year sales increase 40 percent.

So why mess with a 40 percent lift? Jeff Smaul, president and creative director at Mile 9, K-Swiss' agency for the last 13 months, said the brand had to invest more in online, where hardcore runners increasingly do their product research.

"They read the pubs, but they are online," he said. "So it was key to us to have both. They are tech savvy. They do their homework and are willing to spend whatever amount of money it is to get the best."

On Monday, Westlake, CA-based K-Swiss launches an integrated campaign, "We're Freaks For The Run". Mirroring print ad placements, the brand is running multimedia display ads on sites like Runners World, FloTrack.com, Iron Man, Lava Magazine, Running Times, and Competitor.com.


Over the next four weeks, the ads will feature video vignettes that highlight the 45-year-old brand's ambition to expand its identity as a performance sneaker, competing with the likes of Nike, Adidas, and Asics. Four different shoes will be showcased in the :30 videos. Though the shoes and vignettes are designed to appeal to different levels of serious runners, Smaul said, the creative can be described as daring.

"Our whole campaign was based on us hanging out with [triathalon] guys and runners, and we are runners as well," he said. "People think of us as freaks, but we're not freaks….And that's where the whole campaign stems from. We are sure having fun with it. K-Swiss has the ability to do that. We're not Nike, we're not Adidas, so we can go out a little bit further than they can."

Though Mile 9 couldn't ham-hand the details, Smaul explained. "Our voice is talking to hardcore runners," he said. "So it has to be very authentic when we talk about running. When we were shooting the vignettes, for instance, we had to make sure their shoelaces were tied the right way. We had to make sure they were running on the correct side of the street. We know that runners are going to call us out."

TV spots will air later this year as part of the campaign, Smaul said. In addition, he said K-Swiss will have a presence at marathons around the country, while pushing the appearances via its Facebook and Twitter pages.


Christopher Heine

Christopher Heine was a senior writer for ClickZ through June 2012. He covered social media, sports/entertainment marketing, retail, and more. Heine's work has also appeared via Mashable, Brandweek, DM News, MarketingSherpa, and other tech- and ad-centric publications. USA Today, Bloomberg Radio, and The Los Angeles Times have cited him as an expert journalist.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

Get ClickZ Media newsletters delivered right to your inbox. Subscribe today!



Featured White Papers

US Consumer Device Preference Report

US Consumer Device Preference Report
Traditionally desktops have shown to convert better than mobile devices however, 2015 might be a tipping point for mobile conversions! Download this report to find why mobile users are more important then ever.

E-Commerce Customer Lifecycle

E-Commerce Customer Lifecycle
Have you ever wondered what factors influence online spending or why shoppers abandon their cart? This data-rich infogram offers actionable insight into creating a more seamless online shopping experience across the multiple devices consumers are using.




  • SEO Specialist
    SEO Specialist (Marcel Digital) - ChicagoSearch Engine Optimization (SEO) Specialist   Marcel Digital is an award winning digital marketing...
  • SEO / SEM Manager
    SEO / SEM Manager (CustomInk) - FairfaxAre you a friendly, motivated, and inquisitive individual? Are you a positive, out-going leader? Are you...
  • SEO Analyst
    SEO Analyst (XO Group) - New YorkSEO Analyst @ XO Group About this Job, You and Our Team: The XO Group SEO Team is looking for you, a passionate...