Reebok’s Terry Tate Takes a Swipe at the Swoosh

Reebok hopes to capitalize on the splash it made with its Super Bowl ad through a follow-up commercial poking fun at rival Nike .

The spot features an unusual match-up: Reebok’s Terry Tate, the fictional “office linebacker” who metes out retribution on inconsiderate and lazy office workers, will take on Nike’s own unusual ad spokesman, a fleet-footed, scarf-wearing streaker at a British soccer game.

The Reebok ad, created by Arnell Group, shows Tate tackling and berating a streaker at a British soccer game, parodying Nike’s recent advertisement for its new running shoe, Nike Shox NZ. It will air tomorrow night on Fox, during “American Idol.” Reebok plans to make the commercial available on its Web site at the same time

The Terry Tate commercial is meant to build on the positive feedback Reebok received in the wake of its one-minute Super Bowl spot on Jan. 26 debuting Terry Tate. The commercial was ranked by most polls as one of the game’s best; TiVo said more of its viewers watched the ad than the game itself. Reebok’s Terry Tate site, designed by Los Angeles-based Hypnotic, was plugged at the end of the ad. The following day, the Reebok site received 308 percent more visitors than during the prior week, according to Nielsen//NetRatings.

Since then, the company told USA Today more than 1.6 million Terry Tate films have been downloaded from the site and traffic to its online store has quadrupled.

The company’s chief executive, Paul Fireman, said last week that the majority of those drawn to the Reebok site were males in the 18-to-34 demographic, which the shoe retailer covets. He said Reebok’s research showed 69 percent were more willing to purchase a product after visiting.

The challenge for the company is converting the hoopla into brand recognition. The company plans for Terry Tate to help make its “vector” logo on par with Nike’s ubiquitous “swoosh.”

The Super Bowl ad and Internet film do not feature Reebok products other than the vector logo Tate wears on his No. 56 necklace, but the company plans to make the connection more explicit in the upcoming Terry Tate films.

“Reebok’s vector logo symbolizes performance, strength, style and attitude, and because of our Terry character embodies these attributes, it was appropriate to launch our worldwide vector marketing campaign in this very creative and unexpected format,” said Mickey Pant, Reebok’s chief marketing officer.

At least three more Terry Tate films are planned for distribution on the Web. The next installment, “Episode 2: Draft Day,” is slated for release in about a week.

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