New Balance Launches Ad Campaign With Local Runners

The national campaign features the November Project, a local, grassroots fitness 'tribe'.

Unless you haven’t been off the couch in a year, you’ve heard of the November Project. Two northeastern grads. Free fitness. Three early mornings a week. Stadiums, hills, runs; public, free, and social. Think: sweaty hugs. And this is not all bros and frat boys. The age range is anywhere from 18 to 80 (even plus or minus a few years in some cases), and some days it’s hundreds of people. Yes, hundreds.

It’s remarkable what they’ve done. We aren’t the only ones giving the November Project attention. They gained national attention with a June 2013 feature in Outside magazine that talks about the tribe and the reason why New Balance chose them:

For the past 19 months, a growing cadre of fitness buffs, including former 800-meter runner Nicole Teter-Downin and Bruin Andrew Ference, have been gathering at outdoor spots around Boston. On Mondays, they do push-ups and sit-ups in public parks; on Wednesdays, they sprint up the Harvard Stadium stairs; on Fridays, they run the city’s hills. Hundreds of people turn out, rain, snow, or shine, some of them in spray-painted clothes.

“With the state of the economy and our reliance on technology, millennials’ desire for community is heightened these days,” says Claire Wood, senior product manager at New Balance. “We’re desperate for it. The November Project provides fitness and helps erase loneliness simultaneously.” Besides, she notes, “these are potential lifelong New Balance customers.”

Tuesday morning's workout ended with a dip. Photo via November Project Facebook.

Actually, this is not an ad. But you can see why they were chosen for one. Tuesday morning’s workout ended with a dip. Photo via November Project Facebook.

The campaign is dubbed “Runnovation” and the ads featuring the November Project will focus on how running has evolved from a solitary sport to something much more social, and what New Balance says is its commitment to the sport of running from the streets to the science lab. “This campaign is built on the strong foundation that we, as a brand, have in driving and supporting innovation in the sport of running,” says Hilary Keates, New Balance director of global marketing and brand management in the press release. “Running is constantly evolving and ‘Runnovation’ seeks to document these moments and inspire people to think about the sport in exciting new ways.”

Can you believe all those people are working out at 6:30 a.m.? Harvard stadium photo via November Project Facebook.

Can you believe all those people are working out at 6:30 a.m.? Amazing. Harvard stadium photo via November Project Facebook.

The national ads featuring the November Project will be in Men’s Journal, Outside, Running Times, Women’s Running, Competitor, New England Runner magazine, Men’s Health, and Women’s Health. Where’s Hub Health?