New Balance Humbly Pitches 'the Best Running Shoes on Earth'

Emma Coburn, Daichi Kamino and Jack Harlow say so in Rec League campaign

"We'd tell you it's a nice day for a run. But you know every day is Runday."

It's punday too, apparently, as New Balance launches a global campaign themed "The best running shoes on Earth. No, really."

That hyperbolic positioning (and some self-consciously cringy wordplay) applies whether you love running or hate it, per NB's lighthearted anthem film. It stars Olympic steeplechase medalist Emma Coburn and distance runner Daichi Kamino, who log serious roadwork, and rapper Jack Harlow, who prefers a treadmill and people-watching at the beach:

The Fresh Foam 1080v11 | Running | New Balance

"We knew that runners had been told over and over who to run like, how fast to be, and what to wear," says Jack Jensen, co-founder and director at The Rec League, which developed the campaign. "But runners already know that only they can run how they run. They just don't know what they haven't run in yet—and from there came, 'The Best Running Shoes on Earth. No, Really.' "

That tagline, Jensen says, "on one hand is super confident and declarative, and on the other is a huge opportunity to be self-aware and fun. Other running brands have surely believed this same claim before. Some have probably said it out loud. We wanted to speak directly and a bit hyperbolically to athletes to say, 'Look, we can tell you how these are the best running shoes in the world, but it doesn't mean anything unless you're out there running in them.' "

So, it's boastful and customer-centric, while not taking itself too seriously. Maybe the approach will gain traction in a crowded field where brands like Nike and Adidas lead the pack by miles. NB seeks to pick up the pace, with Coburn and Kamino appealing to hard-core enthusiasts, while Harlow competes in a pop-culture/home-workout lane.

"At the beginning of the pandemic, Jack bought a treadmill," Jensen says. "Now, whether that thing gets the burn or it's now a towel rack, I don't know. But that makes Jack a runner. Not every runner that wears NB is going to be training for the Olympics. Some might just buy an impromptu treadmill, and that's cool, too."

At one point in the ad, Harlow says "I hate running," even as he professes his love for his NB Fresh Foam 1080v11 kicks. Jensen believes such honesty will help set the brand apart and build trust over the long haul.

Below, Denver Nuggets postseason hero Jamal Murray gives "driving lessons" in a quick-cut compilation:

This is Jamal Murray | We Got Now | New Balance​

"We wanted to go right at what makes both Jamal and New Balance Basketball different, while embodying that same creativity and fire in the work as Jamal does in his game," says Jensen. "The guy is a walking bucket, and should have been an all-star this year, but he's not focused on that. He's got bigger titles and goals to chase. That DNA really connects him with New Balance, and we're stoked to watch him chase banners for the Mile High City in NBs."

CREDITS

BEST RUNNING SHOE:

Creative Agency: The Rec League
Production & Post Agency: The Rec League
Client: New Balance
Pat Cassidy, Global Director Consumer Brand Marketing & Athlete Activation
Lauren Boylan, Marketing Manager
Shelby Aubin, Marketing Associate
Kimarra McDonald, Sports Marketing Associate

JAMAL MURRAY:

Creative Agency: The Rec League
Production & Post Agency: The Rec League
Denver Unit Director, DP & Photography: Taylor Vincek
Client: New Balance
Pat Cassidy, Global Director Consumer Brand Marketing & Athlete Activation
Sean Sweeney, Global Brand Marketing Manager
Jessica Vassall, Global Marketing Manager
Lauren Adderly, Global Marketing Associate, Athlete Activation

Brand Text
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David Gianatasio
David Gianatasio is senior editor at Clio Awards.

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