Airwalk Spotlights Artists, Athletes in New Push

Airwalk will use artists and athletes in a print and social media campaign, titled “We are Airwalk,” which the shoe maker hopes will promote skateboarding’s accessibility in trying economic times.
The campaign highlights members of indie rock band The Monthlies, and athletes Andy Macdonald, Rodney Jones and Anastasia Ashley in environmental and studio settings—a nod to the sport’s influence on music, fashion, art and film.
“The campaign is really focusing on athletes and who they are,” said Bruce Pettet, CEO of Denver-based Airwalk. “It’s more than winning an X Games medal, it’s more the everyday life of what athletes do.”
Skateboarding has been one of the fastest-growing sports, with participation up 69 percent to 9.8 million since 1998, according to the National Sporting Goods Association. The trade group defines participation as the number of people ages 7-and-up, who took part in the sport more than once.
Participation dipped 3.6 percent in 2008 versus 2007. Yet Pettet sees the sport as poised to benefit from the economic downturn. “Individual sports like skateboarding that have easy accessibility and low cost to enter do well,” he said. “There are two real appealing factors: all you need is a deck and shoes.”
The campaign will break in print in the June issue of Vapors, a skateboarding/lifestyle magazine. The print component will comprise 26 pages across vertical titles like Skateboarder and Snowboarder, as well as other lifestyle and music titles, including Spin and Filter. As for social media, the brand will have a presence on MySpace and Twitter.
Media spend for the campaign wasn’t disclosed. Airwalk spent $800,000 on media in 2008, up from $200,000 in 2007, per Nielsen. Figures do not include online spending.