Cannes Lions

Runlock by New Balance


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Despite a longstanding and rich heritage in running, New Balance have seen heavy competition, eroding their market share - a fact reflected in sales dropping and low association between the brand and vertical.

We needed ‘something’ that wouldn’t look like New Balance was ‘getting into running’ - a confident move to reclaim our territory.

Lockdowns created an exercise boom, with more than a fifth of runners saying they run more post pandemic than before.

Recognising this, we proactively approached New Balance to take advantage of this opportunity - with an integrated brand experience that shows off our brand distinctiveness and skin in the game.

We knew running was worth braving the colder winter months for. We needed to motivate runners old and new to get out there. Our challenge - regain lost ground and give our audience new reasons to believe that New Balance is the running brand for them.


The creative line, “rewards come to those who run” reminds audiences that New Balance is a brand that not just gets running, it uses its platform to help people unlock the rewards of running. It acts as an open invitation to run your way, with no caveats or conditions.

Also facing recurring challenges with brand misattribution, we introduced the Runlockers - branded lockers - as a bold and distinctive brand asset. These are a golden thread to reinforce the brand across multiple touchpoints, and act as a metaphor for the rewards that come with running.

Integrated creative and media planning empowered us to maximise the value of the campaign, and create a seamless brand experience from inspiration through to action. Creative assets were designed and optimised to media by channel/format.

On 16th January aka ‘Blue Monday’, recognised as the most depressing day of the year, we launched the Runlock.


New Balance is an inclusive brand, based on the belief that anyone, regardless of ability and background, can unlock the physical and mental rewards of running.

Our research revealed that people who run, evangelise the rewards it brings, and for infrequent or non-runners, finding the motivation is tough.

Our goal was to celebrate everyday runners unlocking their own potential, and give them the opportunity to earn rewards along the way.

Runlock was born - a direct call-to-action for our target audience to ‘Run to Unlock’ the rewards of running, no matter where you're starting from. Giving people a reason to run their way, not anyone else's.

We crafted a two-fold integrated strategy. Firstly, ‘inspire’ people to see the ‘rewards’ of running with a love letter to the sport, and then ‘incentivise’ via an accessible community challenge inviting anyone to unlock their potential and earn rewards as they run.


This campaign has been a fantastic first step in our race to rebuild New Balance’s running affinity, and has set the pace as the most successful running campaign for the brand globally.

Brand Pulse (our real-time brand tracking tool) saw association between New Balance and running sports increase by 5.1% in core markets over the campaign period.

We drove over a quarter million participants in the sponsored challenge, smashing the benchmark by 186%. Not only that, but the campaign worked in driving action - collectively, participants ran the globe 550 times, with enough elevation to climb Everest 22,000 times over. This wasn’t just a challenge for established runners either - 63% of participants (~157k) were first timers.

During the campaign period, we’ve also driven over 10k new members to the New Balance Strava running club, and signed up 60k+ new users (CRM) from the campaign landing page.

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