Pearl Izumi thinks running is on the ropes. They have a new ad campaign – We are not joggers. Maybe you’ve seen it. If you have, I can almost guarantee you were either inspired or insulted. I haven’t seen many opinions that weren’t one way or the other. Here are a few excerpts:
After all, the number of entrants in your local 10k is surely on the rise, and every Saturday the park is packed with people prancing around in brand new trainers, trying to nurture their chi or look good for their wedding or whatever. Unfortunately, few if any of them are running. They’re jogging, a half-hearted fore-aft movement of the legs that has about as much in common with running as billiards.
These days you’ll see a lot of people out there with MP3 players. Blasting some indie rock to make the miles go by a little bit faster. Every one of these people is a jogger.
Deep down the world already knows that running is an endeavor and jogging is a synonym for half-assed. Its even built into the language of pop culture. But somewhere along the way, people began mistakenly identifying jogging as running. Now you have all these joggers out there calling themselves runners and the real running is beginning to suffer.
Yes, there are many ads for running shoes that seem to project the message that “people who wear our shoes are crazy/dedicated/driven/running machines”. And that’s cool. But this is the first ad I have seen that seems to say “Our shoes are for real runners, and the rest of you suck”. Nothing like a pretentious bunch of running snobs trying to make me feel privileged to buy their shoes. Come back to earth people. You aren’t selling pint bottles filled from the fountain of youth or chunks of the philosopher’s stone. They’re shoes.
Maybe the ad boys and girls at Pearl were trying to be clever. Maybe they don’t make enough of them to sell to everyone. Maybe they feel it dilutes the brand to have (gasp) joggers wearing their shoes. Maybe they need more fiber in their diets.
Either way, the message I hear from this ad is that Pearl Izumi doesn’t want to sell me shoes if I’m not a “real” runner.
I can live with that.