Reebok CrossFit Marketing Strategy


The athletic shoe market is saturated with brands all vying for the attention of consumers worldwide. Puma, Skechers, and Nike all compete against each other for a market share of this 80 billion dollar industry. Among these competitors is Reebok, who has perhaps redefined themselves in the market more times than any other athletic shoe company. With Reebok’s latest partnership with CrossFit, the company has once again used marketing to reenergize their brand and save themselves from obscurity. In order to properly appreciate Reebok’s marketing strategy, it’s important to know the history and previous marketing strategies of this brand.

reebok crossfit

Becoming a Fitness Brand

Reebok and athletics have been tied together since Reebok’s founders first had the inspiration to create a spiked shoe which eventually became the modern cleats. The brand came into prominence when Ron Hill won the Boston Marathon while wearing a pair in 1970. By the 80’s, however, Nike and Adidas had joined the market, and Reebok was feeling the pressure from these new competitors.

To set themselves apart, Reebok realized an underserved market and launched their Freestyle line which was the first athletic wear shoe line that specifically targeted woman. They couldn’t have predicted what happened next. A year later, Jane Fonda launched her first VHS, and women’s exercise became more mainstream. The resulting market turned out to be a very lucrative venture for Reebok.

However, the wave soon collapsed and by the 90s Reebok was once again made irrelevant. In 2005, Adidas purchased the company and though Adidas kept Reebok in tact along with its name and executive structure, things seemed bleak.

The CrossFit Partnership

The partnership of Reebok and CrossFit came at an opportune time for both companies. Reebok was looking to find an underserved market to sell their athletic shoes to in order to pick up sales and revitalize the brand just as they had done in the 80s. CrossFit, meanwhile, was quickly growing but had little infrastructure to get their brand rolling. Not only that, but CrossFit also had suffered some controversy over the dangers the demanding exercise. CrossFit needed to both get the word out and establish legitimacy in the fitness market.

This partnership between Reebok and CrossFit was mutually beneficial. Reebok, as it had done in the past, set it’s sights on an underrepresented niche of an established market. A new generation of fitness conscious people that wanted a shoe that could fit their active lifestyle. This website also has tons of great information about Reebok CrossFit shoes. This generation, known as "FitGen" served as the new focus for Reebok’s marketing strategy.

Now with the exclusive licensing rights to the CrossFit brand, Reebok put forward an ad campaign, the "Be More Human" ad campaign that wove together concepts of lifestyle, fashion, and competitive sports. These ads were designed to put forward a single idea: life is a sport, treat it like one.

Not only has Reebok focused on a niche of consumers, they also organized many consumer focused events that have become the cornerstone of Reebok’s marketing strategy. The Reebok Spartan Race and the CrossFit games have been used to spread awareness of the brand through word of mouth marketing.

The lessons to take away from Reebok’s marketing strategy is that sometimes it pays to carve out a niche. Rather than following the competition, it can benefit you to look for individuals that are underserved and underrepresented in the current market. From there, it’s important to create an effective word of mouth campaign by holding consumer-focused events that will have people talking about the brand.