crn ran an article the other day about the ad campaign that a certain shoe company is currently running. i had some initial responses to the ad but had intended to let it slide, since the rest of the interweb was making enough of a stink about it. but then i let it stew and the thing that really bugged me about the ad just wouldn’t go away. this morning, i had an ad from the same company for their triathlon gear line sitting in my inbox. that bugged me. so i wrote them.
I was going to let the ad sit and not bother you with my opinion regarding your latest marketing campaign attempting to inspire ‘runners’ and marginalize ‘joggers’. But seeing this ad for triathlon gear sitting in my inbox this morning reminded me that I will no longer be purchasing your gear and I wanted to let you know why.
I have read many comments by ‘runners’ and ‘joggers’ across the Internet taking offense at your latest campaign for one reason or another. Either it’s the pace that you list that makes someone a ‘runner’ or calling people who run with iPods ‘joggers’ or the actual division that you make between the two groups. I can see all of their points and I can agree with them all on some level or another. At the same time, I read through your entire marketing spiel on the wearenotjoggers website and I have to admit, while at one time I did fall into your ‘jogger’ category, by your definition I fall into your ‘runner’ category and from a ‘runner’ perspective, the ad motivated me to get out and hit the trails hard. The issues of iPod wearing and your defining line between ‘running’ and ‘jogging’ are of no concern to me.
That excited me and I liked the though of your gear being specifically engineered to support the type of ‘running’ that I do. But that is me. I’m just a small minority of the people that will see your ad. While I like to be motivated by things that make me feel powerful and alive, there’s another issue that I think you’re completely missing and as a result you’ve wronged the sport of ‘running’. This ad, since it was run in an American publication and hosted on the Internet, is obviously viewable by Americans. This country is currently battling with several health related issues due to obesity and lack of physical activity. Getting Americans off their couches, away from their computers and televisions, is like pulling teeth. Any excuse they have to not be active is something that they cling on to. Attacks like this on slower ‘joggers’, however sarcastic or cleverly worded the ad may be, will be taken literally by those readers and rather than encourage them to become ‘runners’, can discourage them and place them back on their couches.
Back when I first started ‘jogging’, I walked into a Foot Zone running store in Issaquah, Washington and bought my first pair of running shorts. They were bright yellow and made me feel fast. I bought them because I recognized the PI logo on them and knew that you made good gear. If I had known then that those shorts were made for ‘runners’ and not ‘joggers’ like I was then, I’d have put them back on the rack and picked a pair of Brooks or Asics shorts. Neither of those companies are ignorant to the battle of the bulge going on in this country. And neither of them made me feel small or marginalized.
i hope they get the picture.