Reebok is the brand of diminished expectations, or so their recent “Run Easy” campaign would have us believe.
Nike said Just Do It. Gatorade commercials show athletes caught in slow-mo, sweating and bleeding the sports drink. Reebok says, “Why hit the wall? It hurts. Run easy.” And “A 10 minute mile is just as far as a 6-minute mile. Run easy.” Sure, it’s the same distance, but it’s not the same workout. Of course, if it’s a difference between running easy and not running at all, by all means, run easy. Sure, people should have fun working out and not get all killer crazy about it. But, if you want to become fitter, you work yourself up to running faster and harder, not easier.
More graciously, it’s about accessing the casual athletic market, and counteracting a sports culture that says either you’re uber, or nothing. More cynically, Reebok is tapping into the same kind of self-rationalizing, self-defeating phrases we tell ourselves. “Eh, it’s ok if I slow up; I’m still running a mile.” “It’s okay if I have a cheeseburger, I’ll just work out 15 minutes later today.” And so forth. A big fat demographic awaits. — BEN POPKEN