A Campus In Style: Resurgence of Reebok classic
Published: Thursday, March 14, 2013
Updated: Thursday, March 14, 2013 22:03
As years go by and new trends develop, it isn’t uncommon for a brand to adapt their creative strategies to the times. Similar to an artist going through different experiences and progressing with their work, fashion must also progress and produce new ideas to avoid being caught in a loop of predictability. Reebok is one of the most popular brands forced to change identity recently, due to a number of external factors.
Though the Reebok brand is over 100 years old, they were recently acquired by a small German company some people know as Adidas in 2005. Before the acquisition by Adidas, Reebok has always been a retailer of sporting goods and high class footwear for both luxury and athletic purposes. Check your grandpa’s closet and I bet you’ll find at least one pair of all-white Reebok classics. Before delving into the competitive sports market, Reebok was indeed a lifestyle brand of sorts.
Reebok succeeded in their unique niche of the sporting goods realm when they entered the market. In the 1990s and early 2000s, Reebok had footwear deals with the biggest celebrity athletes such as Shaquille O’Neal, Allen Iverson, Isaiah Thomas, Thierry Henry, and more. In America specifically, Reebok was once at the lead of professional sports sponsorships. For almost 10 years, Reebok was the exclusive uniform provider for the NFL, America’s most profitable sport. This ended in the 2012 season when that contract was handed over to Nike. As far as other big sports in America, Reebok still is under contract for the uniforms on both the NHL and the NLL (lacrosse), while Adidas has taken the reigns on the NBA and professional basketball and Majestic with MLB.
With two of the biggest American sports held by competitors, I’ve noticed Reebok has taken a small step back from marketing their performance apparel. Instead, we have seen almost a grassroots effort to revive the Reebok Classics image and lifestyle brand. This is almost unprecedented for a huge brand to start from the ground and work their way up. I personally think the “We R Classic” creative marketing plan they have implemented has been awesome at propelling Reebok back into different markets. Reebok has employed musicians such as Rick Ross, Swizz Beats, Tyga, Alicia Keys and Meek Mill to be the face of their new campaigns. The intersection of sports, culture, music, and art has been a successful one so far. Reebok has even taken notes from Nike and the Jordan brand at “retroing,” or reproducing former player exclusive sneakers. In just the past year, Reebok has brought back the sneakers of Shawn Kemp, Emmitt Smith, Shaquille O’Neal and Allen Iverson.
It’s hard to tell if Reebok will compete in professional American sports at the same level of Nike and Adidas ever again. However, the resurrection of the Reebok Classics image and the global push of “We R Classic” is one that has definitely gotten people talking about in the world of sneakers and streetwear.