New Balance Running Shoes – Shoe of the Stars

Over two decades ago, New Balance running shoes were endorsed by star athletes – in particular, James Worthy who was then a forward for the Los Angeles Lakers.  Unfortunately, legal trouble led to the end of Worthy’s endorsement deal with the company, and even shed a bad light on the company itself for a while.  Advertising campaigns for the company for a time includes tag lines such as “Endorsed by No One.”  Company owners Jim and Anne Davis wanted to ensure that New Balance running shoes had a strong presence with professionals, particularly runners, but did not want to include them in advertising.  Ultimately, the couple paid athletes small fees to maintain their presence in the U.S., while other companies such as Nike and Reebok paid big bucks to celebrities like Michael Jordan.

In the end, New Balance Running Shoes are some of the most popular today, even though the company has never resorted to the level of national television advertising and media coverage that other athletic shoes have used.  In the late 90s, the company was connected more to consumers in their early 40s, rather then kids or teenagers.  Around this time a new sports marketing director, Mark Cavanaugh, arrived to put New Balance running shoes in the market where they should be, which was with athletes.  Where did he come from?  Nike, of course.

Cavanaugh said that the company realized that instead of becoming known as a runner’s or athlete’s shoe, they were becoming known as “my parent’s brand” or simply a running brand – and not much else.  To turn things around and put New Balance running shoes in a more enviable position, the decision was made by Cavanaugh and the board in 2009 to put athletes back in the center of things in a way that included a monetary commitment to charity.

While there are hundreds of thousands of people today who would have no other shoe on their feet for running track, competing in marathons or simply running for fitness or enjoyment, there are plenty of athletes who are proud to show which shoes they endorse.  Some of them include R.A. Dickey, Nick Swisher, Curtis Granderson and Miguel Cabrera, winner of the Triple Crown.  Seems that Major League Baseball players can’t get enough of New Balance running shoes these days!

In all, there are about 380 athletes who wear the brand of shoes, most of them baseball players.  Cavanaugh said that overall, about 20% of the players who wear them do so with no contract, simply because they want to.  About 30% are paid cash in some form, while 50% of players enjoy merchandise credits with New Balance and free shoes.  For the company, this is the ideal way to remain strong in the market while not spending an exorbitant amount of money on advertising as many other athletic shoe companies do.

While other big brands may always continue to heavily promote their products and pay athletes/celebrities big bucks to endorse their products, the folks at New Balance running shoes know there is another way to come out in front – by offering a superior product that’s durable, appealing, and offers the comfort and support runners and athletes demand.  While it may have taken the company years to come to the forefront, there is no doubt today that New Balance is a formidable opponent, running right along in the midst of some of the biggest names in footwear.

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