New Balance Microsite Launches on MSN

Footwear and apparel maker New Balance has launched a microsite called “Fit in the City” on MSN, kicking off a six month long campaign orchestrated with the portal’s Custom Solutions team.

The custom-published microsite, created in collaboration with New Balance’s agency, Euro RSCG, is the latest such launch for the portal. Previous efforts have been made on behalf of Lexus and Visa.

The new site, at newbalance.msn.com, features content aimed at casual exercise enthusiasts. At launch, the main story featured four marathons recommended for first-time marathoners. Other articles profiled “outdoor gyms,” explained how to turn walks into workouts, and introduced readers to “express exercise.” Gayle Troberman, director of custom solutions for MSN, said the portal would monitor user interest in the content areas as time goes on and shift editorial plans accordingly. The portal drives traffic to sponsored microsites through links on its front page and in other parts of its network.

The site, according to MSN officials, is aimed at men and women between the ages of 25 and 54 who are interested in running, walking, hiking, yoga, cross training and the like. New Balance wants to increase key brand awareness metrics among the target audience, such as preference, purchase intent and message association. The company’s also looking to drive retail — both online and offline — sales and sign-ups for its email newsletter, according to MSN execs.

Besides the general fitness content, the site is also organized around 10 metropolitan areas — New York, San Francisco, Boston, Dallas/Fort Worth, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Seattle, and Washington D.C. Locally-oriented content includes city-specific event listings and information about local fitness options. The local content areas also highlight retailers that carry New Balance merchandise, and give the company a chance to promote the independently owned New Balance-branded stores it is rolling out across the country.

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