Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Letter to Pearl Izumi

A little bit ago, Wes highlighted an ad that irked him from Pearl Izumi. I hadn't had a chance to see the ad yet, but I remember thinking that it must be pretty edgy to get under Wes' skin! :) Over the weekend, though, I brought my Runner's World mag with me as a special treat to read on vacation and finally saw the ad.

For those who haven't seen it yet, here is the text...

"We are not joggers. At Pearl Izumi, we don't jog. We run. And we think that matters. The thing is, running is endangered. You might find this hard to believe. After all, the number of entrants in your local 10k is surely on the rise, and every Saturday the park is packed with people prancing around in brand-new trainers, trying to nurture their chi or look good for their wedding or whatever. Unfortunately, a few if any of them are running. They're jogging, a half-hearted fore-aft movement of the legs that has about as much in common with running as bowling. And with all the jogging going on out there, runners are losing the soul of their sport. A sport that started with our ancestors running down dinner and remains to this day predatory at its core. Joggers are prey. Runners are hunters. If you belong to the latter group, revel in the fact that you sit firmly atop the bipedal locomotion foot chain. And run like an animal."


Well, now I understand Wes' state of irk! I felt it was necessary to share this runner's impression of their media message to the company, via email. I would imagine that I will receive the stock response, but I believe it's important to be an active consumer and this is a foolish and insulting campaign.

________

To whom it may concern,

I just wanted to express my distaste with your recent ad campaign, maligning joggers to the benefit of "runners."

You clearly have strayed from your consumer base. For the benefit of the humor you apparently saw in the comparison, you alienated the majority of Americans who benefit from the accessibility and affordability of running as a way to increase health and activity. You mock those who run for greater fitness, those who set personal goals and those who see collective running -- such as in a local race benefiting police or children's charities -- as a way of giving back to their community. You ignore the very important role that these individuals play in continuing to build the sport of running as not only an activity, but also as an industry -- an industry from which you directly benefit in product sales and brand promotion. It is this very group of individuals you mock -- who are preparing for weddings or staving off heart disease or diabetes -- that makes the sport of running a national movement towards greater health in an unhealthy nation and greater community involvement in an increasingly isolated body politic.

I am neither an elite runner, nor a fast one. I clog my local 5K and 10K races with my pesky entrance fees. I have personal fitness goals and see running as a way to achieve those goals. And I subscribe to Runner's World, where I saw your ad, as well as Inside Triathlon, Triathlete Magazine, Trail Runner, and Running Times. And I buy shoes and clothing. Lots of it. And I feel that your company, unfortunately, does not represent my needs as a consumer any longer.

And lastly, I don't jog. I run.

Sincerely,


XXXX


___________

Now, take a second to check out Comm's recent post about what we do, because he clearly gets it!

17 comments:

Jeremy said...

I agree that their ad was in really poor taste. That was an excellent letter that you wrote to them. Hopefully many more people have done the same.

Spokane Al said...

The late Dr George Sheehan once said the difference between a jogger and a runner was a race entry form.

That has always made sense to me.

JenC said...

Good lord! They have a lot of nerve, don't they? A lot of my gear is from Pearl Izumi. I'll be ashamed to wear it from now on (of course, I'm too cheap to replace right away). Thanks for speaking up for everyone, runners and 'joggers' alike. Your e-mail was well said.

stronger said...

You wrote the letter perfectly! Way to step up!!

jbmmommy said...

It's likely that I'll never qualify as a Pearl Izumi "runner", but being a jogger will suffice for me.

Nice letter you wrote, thanks for sharing.

Wes said...

I'm still getting a comment from folks every couple of days, and the last few have been people trying to take PI's side of the issue. I still like Bingham's definition the best. If you lace up, and walk out the door, you are a runner. For the love of what we do...

Thanks for the cross reference :-) Yea, I'm a bit difficult to get over excited, but when you do, I hang on with a bulldog's tenacity!

LBTEPA said...

I wasn't a fan of the ad in the first place, but seeing the text all together makes it even worse!!

Siren said...

I haven't been able to buy any Pearl Izumi gear yet because it all seems designed for the flat-chested anorexics of the world. Now I'll know to avoid it regardless of how small I get.

Mallie said...

The only way your letter could have been any better was if you closed with "jogging my way to IM, and damn proud of it!"

Mallie, who shuffles, plods, strides, jogs and sometimes even runs...

Krista said...

I love it! I blogged about this letter, too. What crap...

I'm so excited to have found a new blog to read. :) I'm training for the Nike Women's Marathon at the moment.

Ironman? You ROCK. And Wisconsin?! Even cooler - I live 30 minutes from Madison.

mishele k said...

I hated peal izumi before I read that, but now they're on my permanent spit list. Great letter! Stick it to the man!

Jane said...

I am SO glad that you wrote this and posted about it. I'm a beginner RUNNER (not "a half-hearted fore-aft movement-er of the legs"), and when I saw this ad and I got upset and actually a little discouraged. It'll be interesting to know if this ad campaign decreases their revenues.

Bogdana said...

I wrote to them as well. I could post my response here but its long. I'd link it but im on xanga and you have to be signed up in xanga to read it because ive got privacy settings activated. But basically it was like yours. maybe i'll copy and paste it into my blogger. and thankfully they didn't even bother to send me a stock email because frankly that would have pissed me off more.

twojones said...

I see you rank pretty highly on a long list of joggers/runners talking about Pearl Izumi. Hmmm. Joggers and runners talking about Pearl Izumi... seems like your ire is getting them exactly what they were shooting for. I wouldn't blame you if you felt a little bit like a tool right now. A couple little ad buys in a handful of magazines and look how much publicity they got!

Anonymous said...

sounds like a lot of people here get the panties in a not real quick. guess not everyone can roll with the punches. its all about advertising, it gets peoples attention and gets people talking.

Anonymous said...

If you are a "runner" than the ad compliments you, and clearly you feel you are a runner...Pearl Izumi is not bashing the local races; they are not slamming charitiy runs either. If you are a runner than run - be strong physically and mentally - run for reasons you believe in. Run, don't jog. Run like an animal. That is simply all they are telling us in their awesome, quite amusing ads. I am a runner, and I think Pearl Izumi's ads rock....

Anonymous said...

agree with above. You guys are ridiculous!
'Give it your all'. That's all they're saying. 'No half arse efforts please'...

so stop being so bloody insecure and busy bodies, go outside and run. Like I am. In PI shoes. Because the ads are the best i've ever seen from any running brand.

Apart from those old Nike ones. ;)