Athletics brand New Balance has stepped up its assault against Nike and Adidas with the launch of its first range of running accessories. The 900 series builds on the brand’s core sports shoe offering.
The launch of the performance accessories, which is being handled by consultancy Silverhammer, comes after a year in development. In April, New Balance launched its first dedicated fashion range, PF Flyer, in the UK, Italy, France and Japan (MW January 16).
New Balance is expected to launch a range of clothing under the PF Flyer brand to build on the popularity of retro sports clothing.
The functional 900 range, which is to be launched imminently, will include a running pack, bladder pack, waist pack, armband wallet and mesh cap, which all aim to help runners feel more comfortable.
New Balance has also launched its first integrated above-the-line campaign in the US and Europe. The brand does not sponsor celebrity athletes and rarely uses above-the-line advertising. The campaign marks the first time the brand has used above-the-line marketing in the UK and Europe (MW March 27).
A renewed focus on Europe followed last year’s appointment of UK marketing manager Robert Ward and its first European marketing director, Tobi Richter (MW December 12, 2002).