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Brooks Transcend Video Ad in Runner’s World

Brooks TranscendTwo days ago I received a large envelope in the mail that contained the March issue of Runner’s World. It felt a bit stiffer than a typical issue, and after reading an accompanying letter from Brooks, I opened the magazine to find that Brooks had placed a video ad inside for their new shoe, the Brooks Transcend.

I’m not sure if this was a special edition just for bloggers/media. I suspect so given the potential expense involved in wide circulation of an ad like this. But, I have to admit that although I really have no interest in the shoe personally (too heavy for my taste), the video ad is pretty darned cool and I wonder if we are seeing a glimpse at the future with this type of advertising (check out this post on an Outside Magazine video experiment for a different implementation)?

Check out the ad in the video below (click on the gear in the YouTube interface to adjust settings if you’d like to view in HD):

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About Peter Larson

This post was authored by Peter Larson. Pete is a biology teacher, track/soccer coach, and dad (x3) with a passion for running, soccer, and science. If you'd like to learn a little bit more about who I am and what I do, click here, or visit


  1. Cool! Pretty sure that video you made is as close as I’ll ever get to seeing on of those ads in real life.

  2. I happen to work for the company that prints both Runner’s World and Outside. I do believe everyone got the video ad and my employer’s position is that this is part of the future of magazines. It is still in its infancy but this, as well as some other fascinating technology, will keep magazines and catalogs fresh and interactive.

  3. What an appalling waste of the worlds resources.

    It’s just appalling that the marketing department have so much money to waste on such gimmicks, even if it’s just a small media sample.

    Why not just invest in the shoe designers and let descent shoes sell themselves? Much less damage to the environment and better outcome all round.

    • What are you, some kind of fruity minimalist or something? (I’m a fruity minimalist, and I agree with you)

    • The more I think about this the more I regret posting this and the more I agree with you. If this goes out to all subscribers it’s a crazy waste of resources and is going to fill landfills with a ton of lithium ion batteries that in the tiny print on the back of the ad says should not be dumped into household trash bins. Seems like a ripe opportunity for another brand to make a giant donation to a charity or organization like Girls on The Run and show where money like this can be put to good use.

      Brooks pisses me off a bit since they rabidly protect their pricing to support retailers (hence why no online discounts work for Brooks shoes). Supporting retailers is all well and good, but what about the consumers who buy the shoes? Shouldn’t their wallets be protected from skyrocketing shoe prices? Especially when Brooks clearly has enough money to put out an ad like this?

      • It’s important to cover stuff like this, the marketing folk need to see how consumers respond to stuff like this.

        In my case, a somewhat contentious consumer it’s a pretty alarming development, I buy lots of running shoes, I’m the type of consumer that shoe companies should be wanting to woo. For me such stunts really turn me off companies and magazines that generate such wasteful marketing and products. For me this is anti-marketing, I’m now less likely to buy Brooks shoes or Outside magazine.

  4. This ad is anti evereything, actually; and most importantly, is anti any sense of decency and care for the world’s resources, our resources.

    This is a no go for Brooks and I can tell you right now point blank that I will never buy the Transcend.

  5. Haha, that’s a quick turnaround of opinion. I work in publishing as well and these techniques truly are a feeble attempt to keep an outdated medium in circulation. I work for a company that, among other media, makes custom magazines for a number of corporations. Magazines are on the way out. It’s hard to predict what the future will hold for publishing. At the moment content marketing through social media (adding credible and valuable information to corporate social media) seems to work best to activate consumers. And of course providing important bloggers, like yourself Peter, with previews and free gear.

    Funny to see how such a pricey, and on the surface nifty marketing scheme only seems to breed contempt.

    • It’s weird because my first gut reaction was “this is really cool.” So I wrote this post. Then the more I thought about it the more it kind of bugged me. It may actually be the spur to cancel my print subscription of Runner’s World since I almost never open it. I get everything I need pretty much from their website – I typically check their news feed and the RW bloggers each day. I think for me it’s more about the authors than the publication, I look for stuff from people like Amby Burfoot, Scott Douglas and Alex Hutchinson, not from the RW brand.

  6. Pete (and others),
    I hate this ad campaign and the incredible waste of resources, but it is especially annoying given Brooks’ public statements on their website about responsible use of resources. I just fired off a rather lengthy email to RUNNINGRESPONSIBLY@BROOKSRUNNING.COM to complain about the Transcend packaging and the RW inserts. My final paragraph was as follows:

    “Brooks makes some good products. I would hope that your rapid rise in market share in the run specialty market does not go to your head and drive you to do ridiculous and wasteful promotions like the Transcend campaign. Please let your products stand on their own and use those advertising dollars to do something important, good, or responsible.”

    I hope Brooks hears from others who think like some of us here do. Unfortunately I expect that Brooks will hear from many more people just how cool and innovative their ad campaign is and that will drown out the dissenting opinion.

    I’ve had dozens of pairs of Brooks shoes in my life and don’t anticipate buying any more anytime soon.

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