Currently the secondary brand within Adidas Group, Reebok struggled with several years of steady decline before finally seeming to find its feet in 2014 with a focus on general fitness rather than sport, and more recently on "tough fitness"', as well as a greater emphasis on women's apparel. At one point in the 1980s Reebok was - briefly - the world's top-selling sports shoe, but its position slipped steadily over the next few decades. Like its rivals, the company felt the pinch from the global shift away from white trainers in the late 1990s. Reebok was a little slower to manage a rebound, despite diversification into other clothing lines, such as Rockport walking shoes and boots. More recently, the group scored a hit with its street-oriented Rbk range which was closely aligned with the rap music and urban fashion markets and in 2005, the company agreed to be acquired by Adidas for around $3.8bn, creating a stronger competitor to leader Nike. Yet despite the best efforts of Adidas the brand suffered fresh declines over the next couple of years, falling behind rival Puma in 2008 to languish in last place among the big four brands. There were, finally, signs of a turnaround from 2009 as a result of the success of new fitness sub-brand Easytone (now Skyscape), and subsequent partnerships with UFC, Les Mills training, running club Midnight Runners and others. (A partnership with CrossFit was terminated in 2020 following politically incorrect comments by that fitness franchise's CEO). The brand also has continued to expand its focus on the women's market, not least through a high-end design partnership with Victoria Beckham and endorsement contracts with actress Gal Gadot and model Gigi Hadid among others. Even so, brand sales have continued to fluctuate up and down on either side of €1.7bn annually. The figure for 2019 was €1.75bn, up modestly on the year before, but still less than a tenth of what the Adidas brand generates. North America and Europe each account for around a quarter of sales. Matt O'Toole is brand president. In early 2021, following a strategic review, Adidas confirmed plans to seek a buyer for the Reebok brand. A deal was evetually agreed with licensing specialist Authentic Brands. Though generally regarded as an American brand, Reebok's roots lie in Bolton in the North of England, where shoemaker JW Foster began making spiked running shoes in 1900. By the 1920s, Foster was supplying virtually all of the world's Olympic running teams as well as most British football clubs. The Reebok name was introduced for the first time by Foster's grandson in 1960, and launched in the US in the 1970s. In 1985, the business was acquired by its North American licensee.
Capsule checked 2nd October 2020
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Historical profile information for Reebok
Adbrands Daily Update 13th Aug 2021: Adidas Group has agreed to sell its troubled Reebok business to licensing specialist Authentic Brands, whose other brands include Forever 21, Aeropostale, Jones New York and Nine West. Authentic's other recent purchases include Sports Illustrated magazine and Van Heusen, Arrow and other "heritage" brands from PVH. It also owns the brand images of Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley and Muhammad Ali. Sale price was €2.1bn
Adbrands Daily Update 17th Jun 2021: "Reconnect". Sportswear brand Reebok is in the process of reinventing itself ahead of its spin-off from Adidas. A key pillar of the reboot has been the appointment of fashion designer Kerby Jean-Raymond, best known for his Pyer Moss label, as creative director following an earlier well-received capsule collaboration. Jean-Raymond has in turn brought aboard Jide Osifeso as artistic marketing director, and their combined experiences as Black Americans have clearly informed the agenda for the rebooted Reebok. Here's the first fruit, a beautifully conceived film which aims to set the tone for what will follow. It's possibly a touch too artistic for a mass-market audience, which suggests that some compromises will have to be made down the line. But as a statement of intent it's a stunning piece of work. This is in fact a segment from a longer 11-minute film; but it's our particular favourite bit. The film was developed inhouse by Jean-Raymond and Osifeso and directed by Jonas Lindstroem.
Adbrands Daily Update 13th Jan 2020: "Zigurine". Deutsch get off to a flying start on the Reebok account with this inventive spot starring Ultimate Fighting Championship superstar Conor McGregor, now one of the brand's most influential endorsement partners. He might not be as familiar a face to international audiences as he is in the US (or his home country of Ireland), but it hardly matters. The spot is loads of fun. Let's face it, who can resist a bit of Claymation?
Adbrands Daily Update 13th Mar 2019: Dick's Sporting Goods took further steps to limit sales of guns and related equipment through its stores, despite a continuing negative impact on financial performance. Traditionally, one of America's biggest gun retailers, it has also taken a lead in scaling back its exposure to the sector in the wake of recent mass shootings in the US. This week, the company said it would remove guns from sale in 125 outlets, and would consider expanding that policy to further stores depending on public reaction. In an unrelated announcement that represents a serious blow to sportswear manufacturer Adidas, Dick's also said it would stop selling the Reebok brand and instead launch its own inhouse brand, which it expects to generate better sales.
Adbrands Social Media 12th Mar 2019: "Storm the Court". Venables Bell & Partners' final campaign for soon-to-depart client Reebok is either a work of genius or a bizarre satirical in-joke. To be honest we can't decide. We wondered at first if we were watching a trailer for Jordan Peele's new movie. It's certainly creepy enough for the first half of its running time, before it somehow morphs into a K-Pop music video. Unexpected is right. Still, the client clearly loved it. It will be interesting to see how newly appointed Deutsch build on the Reebok brand once they get their hands on it.
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