Back then: Micky Pant Reebok cmo was sporting an Event Marketer Dream Team jersey and sweatpants in the Reebok corporate showroom.
Now: Pant left the company early in 2004 started a yoga biz then joined Yum Restaurants (parent of Pizza Hut Taco Bell and Long John Silver’s) as worldwide head of marketing. We were still tracking him down at presstime but caught up with Uli Becker Reebok’s current cmo who is leading the turnaround of the brand since it was acquired by adidas in January 2006 for a cool $3.8 billion:
What’s changed since the Pant cover?
We have been busy integrating Reebok into the adidas group which is a complicated process of trying to create cost synergies and building for the future. This year 2007 is a transition year. We have changed from an entrepreneurial to a brand-driven company and are putting resources against marketing which includes p.r. advertising and online initiatives. Event marketing is a part of that.
And your biggest accomplishment since then?
The launch of our new technologies Hexride a lightweight cushioning system and SmoothFit which fits the foot in one smooth molded construction. Both will be incorporated into running and women’s products for 2008 and supported in a campaign entitled “Your Move.” Consumers want choice and a brand that is part of that. Most athletic brands prioritize sports over lifestyle and speak to the elite athlete. We want to celebrate individuality in sports and life.
What is your biggest challenge going into 2008?
We are working in an industry that is not doing well. The malls are sick. That doesn’t help you in a situation where you want to turn around a brand. Normally turning around a brand in a growing market is easier than if the market has its own problems. The U.S. and U.K. are in turmoil to begin with outside of our own position which obviously needs to be improved. It is important we get our grip on the U.S. marketing and we are addressing this for 2008. Mall traffic is down but business is still out there. We are not the favorite sports brand now but we are a contender. We are lean fast and decisive.
Photo Credit: unsplash.com/@karlavidal