Put Yourself in Skechers Shoes: A Minimalist Ad for a Minimalist Shoe

As a former avid runner and lifetime sneaker freak, I’m not yet a big fan of Skechers as a performance shoe. But I am a fan of their new commercial featuring marathon runner Meb Keflezighi.

Skechers is obviously trying to change its reputation and become more of a player in the performance market–re-signing Meb as a brand ambassador and signing a multi-year deal to be the shoe and apparel sponsor of the Houston Marathon (see Runner’s World article). So you’d think they’d try and mimic the other “in your face” sportswear giants like Nike, Adidas and Asics, with loud, heart pumping, endorphin boosting ads. But no, they went the smart route.

Keeping It Simple

The Skechers GOrun Ride 3 commercial is beautifully simple in story, in visuals and in words. I love it and I’ll explain why in a second, but first, check it out for yourself:

What did you think? It’s a lesson in minimalism for advertisers. This ad mostly sticks to the basics. Visually, it’s bright, sunny and oozes warmth and friendliness with it’s small town look. Even if you don’t know who Meb is, which I didn’t, you immediately sense he’s known in his sport all because of two simple words repeated as he passes through different parts of town, “Morning, Meb!” People know him, and by the scenery changes with each person he passes, you can see that he runs long distances.

Meb’s morning run is simply narrated. In just one line, with a few nicely placed pauses, we learn about the shoe’s features and who Meb is. Here’s the script:

It features a lightweight and sleek design along with plenty of cushion to go the distance, which is why it’s the shoe worn by America’s number one marathoner…Meb. 

Toward the end, we see an average man sit down in his house (the house we saw Meb run into) effectively showing that this man, like every non-professional athlete does at some time, imagines himself as Meb while he runs. There’s some cute little banter between the man and wife, and with seemingly little effort, Skechers has just appealed to two audiences with one ad — the marathoner/serious runner and the average person who’s running to stay fit.

“Put yourself in Meb’s shoes,” are the narrator’s final words. Cliche? You can argue that, but I’d call it perfect. That’s exactly what Skechers wants you to do. Sometimes cliche works.

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