Reebok Marketing Boss 'Content' to Trail Nike

16 February 2005

America's second largest sports footwear and apparel marketer, Reebok International, is happy with its lot as runner-up to Nike, according to cmo Dennis Baldwin who stepped-up into the job exactly a year ago.

The British-owned Canton, Massachussetts, headquartered company has just launched its biggest branding campaign in ten years - the first major effort from New York shop McGarry Bowen.

The $50 million (€38.52m; £26.43m) campaign follows hard on the heels of a record set of fourth-quarter numbers and the highest sales results in Reebok's history. Excluding a one-time benefit, profits rose year-on-year by 34%, while full-year net revenue leapt 26% from 2003.

Baldwin is unusually relaxed jogging behind Nike in such a profitable position. "Focusing on Nike isn't nearly as important as defining our own position and an area we can own in the market and be a clear alternative to them," he said.

"Look, most industries become a two-brand race and we want to be one of the two brands that come out of people's mouth first."

But while Reebok may be the other name on folks' lips, Nike's Taiwan-made shoes outpace Reebok's Taiwan-made shoes by more than half a lap - 36% of the US market compared with Reebok's 14%.

And in terms of global market share, another brand mars Reebok's contentedness. It must overtake German-based world number two Adidas-Salomon whose shoes, also made in Taiwan, are hot on Nike's heels.

On the winner's podium: Taiwan!

Data sourced from AdAge (USA); additional content by WARC staff