Hi-Tec is spearheading a consumer campaign that will be unveiled in spring 2006 highlighting five everyday women who get outdoors to stay healthy and lead an active lifestyle, and, in turn, can motivate others to do the same.
Working with Shape Magazine -- known more for its fitness coverage but doing increasingly more outdoor-fitness crossover stories -- Hi-Tec will launch its Hi-Tec Hi-Five initiative to the public in March 2006. It will incorporate an ad campaign and a specially designed booklet and website featuring the slogan, "Get up! Get out!"
Announced to the trade in August 2005, the program will include five full-page ads in Shape Magazine (www.shape.com) in five consecutive issues starting in March. Each one will highlight one of five activities, one of the five "everyday women" selected in the campaign, and an appropriate Hi-Tec shoe. Hi-Tec (www.hi-tec.com) said the project is designed to demonstrate its commitment to the female consumer -- about 25 percent of its business -- and promote its women's-specific footwear collection.
"With the obesity problem that is happening everywhere, we just want to try to do what we can with this women's initiative," Brett Weitl, marketing director for Hi-Tec, told SNEWSÂ®. "Hi-Tec is really is an outdoor brand for everybody. The overall message is: 'Hey, you know what? Get outside. It's a beautiful world, go do something. We're out there, and we hope we can motivate you.'"
The project also exemplifies how fitness and outdoor activities can go hand in hand. The booklet provides Shape an additional outlet to cover outdoor fitness activities, a subject it typically covers only twice a year with its "Get Outside" issues. Barbara Harris, editor in chief of Shape Magazine, said the magazine is excited to be a partner with Hi-Tec in honoring everyday women who are taking their fitness to the outdoors.
"At Shape we believe the real pay-off of staying committed to your regular cardio and strength training workouts is that being fit allows you to see more and do more. You're fit for adventure," Harris said. "After being in the outdoors, many women will say, 'This is why I work out.'"
The program is also expected to help align retailers with a strong women's marketing message and, in turn, attract more into specialty stores, said Kristine Scichilone, Shape merchandising director.
"By displaying the point-of-sale booklets in their stores, they are encouraging women to break into new outdoor activities, thus helping create a new female consumer base not previously tapped," Scichilone told SNEWSÂ®. "This potential growth in sales stands to spur the outdoor and fitness industries as a whole by communicating with this often overlooked consumer.
"Hi-Tec Hi-Five raises the bar for other manufacturers to speak to this valuable consumer with a relatable, women's-specific message," Scichilone added.
As its five activities, the Hi-Five ad campaign and accompanying booklet feature light hiking, off-road walking, mountain biking, aqua active (defined as anything in water), and trail running -- a new category the company is launching in spring 2006.
The 14-page consumer booklet was designed by Hi-Tec with input from Shape. It highlights the five outdoor activities, fitness and nutrition information, tips to get started, quotes from the Hi-Five winners for inspiration, Q&As and descriptions of Hi-Tec shoes appropriate for use. The companies plan to distribute 1.5 million copies across the country via Hi-Tec retailers in POP displays, a direct mailing to Shape subscribers, and at trade shows and Shape events.
Hi-Tec also is launching a website in spring 2006 -- www.hi-tec.com/outdoorfitness -- that will mimic the booklet's content and expand on it, Weitl said. Consumers will also be able to order the booklet online.
Hi-Tec already has five everyday women selected for spring nominated by colleagues and connections through Shape. They range in age and body type, and all tout the health benefits that can be achieved by getting outdoors.
Admittedly a bit California-centric this first go-around -- where both Shape and Hi-Tec are based -- Weitl said he's looking forward to the fall campaign because the pool of candidates will broaden considerably. He added that an "everyday woman" can be just about anyone and doesn't want to pigeonhole Hi-Tec with a set definition.
"There really isn't a set criteria, like she needs to be this, she has to have that. The submissions that we've received from multiple people and women across the country are so vast and many of them, most of them, are good cases. Not one of them can we say, "Nah, nah, she's not right,'" he said.
"We want to make it an ad around them and this program rather than an ad about footwear," Weitl added.
Nomination forms for the fall campaign, which will focus on winter-based activities, will be in the spring booklet and on the website.
SNEWSÂ® View: This underscores increasing acceptance and recognition of the mantra that SNEWSÂ® and GearTrendsÂ® have espoused for years: That outdoor and fitness really do go hand-in-hand. One needs to stay in shape to go outdoors, enabling a better experience and performance. And day-in, day-out workouts aren't just about the workout but also about being in shape for everyday life and activities. This program is just one more public step that we applaud that link the two worlds, with an emphasis on women's participation. Now, we just need to make sure the retailers are informed and educated enough to sell to and interact with women, who can be intimidated in some specialty stores if they are not from the outdoor world already. We assume that retailer education will be a part of this program.