Hoka’s latest avian-themed ads look to shore up favor among runners

July 9, 2024

Hoka is ramping up its avian-themed marketing targeted at runners with a new global ad campaign titled “We Are All Born to Fly,” reports Fashion Dive.

The effort launches with a 60-second anthem spot, “Bird’s Eye,” that shows a raptor gliding over mountains, forest trails, and open roads in the French Alps—providing aerial POVs on the runners below. The full campaign, slated to run through the fall, will span broadcast, over-the-top TV, out-of-home, digital channels and social media.

“We Are All Born to Fly” expands a “Fly Human Fly” platform Hoka introduced on the back of strong sales momentum. Another branding play around running comes as legacy rivals, including Nike, have seen their foothold in the running community slip.

Tying the euphoria of running to birds in flight remains a key branding touchstone for Hoka in its latest ads. Developed with agency Anomaly, the campaign builds on a “Fly Human Fly” platform that previously featured creative inspired by murmuration, a visually striking bird-flocking behavior that Hoka used

Carrying similar themes, “We Are All Born to Fly” depicts a raptor taking wing over the French Alps, a locale that nods to Hoka’s roots in Annecy, France. While in the air, the bird spots runners of all levels of intensity, from those climbing high-altitude trails to people taking a casual jog on the road. The campaign’s rollout lands ahead of the Summer Olympics, a major sporting occasion, and will extend throughout the fall 2024 season.

Founded in 2009, Hoka has won over picky performance runners thanks to its comfortable, chunky shoe designs and active outreach to running clubs, which have soared in popularity since the pandemic.

The company, which is owned by Deckers Brands, surpassed $1 billion in sales last year and is frequently cited as a disruptor to Nike, which has seen some of its favorability among runners slip.

Nike, a dominant force in sportswear, has struggled in a broader sense after prioritizing direct-to-consumer channels over wholesale retail relationships and failing to produce eye-catching marketing in recent years.

Nike is currently pushing its Pegasus 41 sneaker with a program executives have described as the brand’s “most comprehensive running campaign in years.” The firm is also doubling down on its on-the-ground game to reconnect with the running community.

Research contact: @FashionDive