Daily Insights

New Balance Gets in the Game

By: Alizah Asif Farooqi | Apr 10, 2019

In an effort to go global and connect with a younger crowd, the activewear label is investing in gamified mobile ads on Snapchat and Instagram. A twist from the typical fitness-oriented apps that many activewear brands arm themselves with, the ad might nudge New Balance to the top of its digital marketing game.

The in-app ad comes in the guise of a game called Cloud Jumper, where users bounce a bunny from cloud to cloud on New Balance-branded trampolines. If they lose, players are presented with two choices: play again or visit New Balance’s mobile site. In addition to the branded trampolines, the game seeks to convey the fluffy feeling that New Balance’s Fresh Foam sneakers supposedly tout.

New Balance has demonstrated a penchant for playfulness in the past. The company has no problem bouncing off the gamifying trend, such as by adopting a points-based approach for its loyalty program. The sneaker supplier has also mastered the mobile platform, boasting a mobile site that outperforms its peers’ thanks to best-in-class features like expedited payment options and a new click-to-call store agent feature on product pages, according to Gartner L2’s Digital IQ Index: Activewear.

Overall, the ad highlights the narrow line brands must tread between not building enough brand awareness and being overly branded. It seems like Cloud Jumper is decently successful as a game, at least: 20% of consumers served the ad engaged with it and roughly a third of them played all the way through. But whether they’ll buy New Balance shoes remains to be seen.