New Balance footwear getting in a patriotic mood this summer

Posted on Thu Jun 10 2010


When times are tough, patriotism is one way to lift spirits. I'm guessing the underperforming retail market is part of the reason (if not the main reason) why New Balance has slapped a red, white and blue logo on its website and debuted a new online video that carries the tagline: "Committed to American workers." In the video, posted after the jump and narrated by motorsports broadcast announcer Dr. Jerry Punch, the Home Depot pit crew of Joe Gibbs Racing is invited to swap jobs for a day with New Balance factory workers in Skowhegan, Maine. The video makes several references to New Balance shoes being U.S.-manufactured. For instance, a worker is shown putting a "Made in the U.S.A." sticker on the shoes, while a Home Depot crew member says he admires New Balance because it keeps American workers employed. Later, New Balance associates are shown switching jobs with the Home Depot pit crew, and performing maintenance on a Nascar race car. The video leaves you with a happy, all-American feeling and this statistic: "1 in every 4 pairs of shoes we sell in North America are made in the U.S." On a larger scale, the brand is kicking off a national awareness campaign this summer that will include in-store materials and footwear hangtags. So, even if you missed the online video, you won't miss the "Made in the U.S.A." messaging when you're buying New Balance shoes.

—Posted by Elena Malykhina

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Sneaker makers now filling shoeboxes with more than just shoes

Posted on Thu Oct 22 2009


It used to be that you'd buy a pair of sneakers, put them on and throw out the box, and that would be it. OK, you might keep the box around for a while to store your baseball cards in, but there was nothing useful in the box itself except the shoes. Lately, though, sneaker makers seems to be learning from cereal companies like Kellogg and General Mills and are including a prize inside. New Balance, for instance, last month put a Polaroid of its sneaker inside every box of ultra-exclusive 574 Clips (only 480 pairs were made). On the backs of those pictures was a code where owners could go online to "claim" video footage of their exact pair of shoes, filmed at the factory or elsewhere. Now, Nike has done something similar this month with its CTR360 soccer boot. Each box contains not only a pair of the boots, but a unique code that the new owner can enter online to get coaching instruction from Cesc Fabregas of Arsenal and Andrés Iniesta of FC Barcelona, among others. While the online angle is fresh, the sneaker industry is actually catching up to Cracker Jack, which began putting prizes in its boxes in 1912.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

Is New Balance on the level with its 'Made in the USA' campaign?

Posted on Fri Jun 26 2009

New Balance took a while to capitalize on America's concerns about sketchy imports, but they've finally come through with their "Made in the USA" campaign, combining traditional advertising (print, media, radio) and an online documentary to prove just how American they are. Admittedly, the whole thing is a little corny—it's nearly impossible for me to see the human flag on their Web site and not think of a certain hilarious Garrison Keillor monologue. But they also have a point. New Balance is the only major athletic-shoe maker still operating stateside. Everyone else has shipped all their work overseas, to countries with few worker safety laws and even fewer sexual taboos. But here's what the campaign doesn't spell out: New Balance makes only one-quarter of its shoes in the U.S. They have one factory in England. Where do the rest of their shoes come from? China, it would seem. So much for the moral high ground.

—Posted by David Kiefaber



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