Work for Mizuno Running wins Warc Prize for Social Strategy - McKinney

Work for Mizuno Running wins Warc Prize for Social Strategy

April 11, 2014

The Mezamashii Run Project has won another award! This time it was the only gold awarded to a North American entrant in what Warc calls “a case study competition.” Last month, 37 case studies from 14 different markets representing a global mix of agencies, specialists, PR firms and marketers were shortlisted for the Warc Prize for Social Strategy. McKinney’s gold is one of five awarded.

“Mezamashii was a team effort between lots of people here in Durham and our Mizuno partners in Atlanta,” said Head of Account Planning Walt Barron. “To be recognized by such a well-respected organization and by judges and peers we admire is such a huge honor for us. We feel fortunate to be in global company with the other gold Warc Prize for Social Strategy winners.”

The prize is channel-neutral and defines social strategy as “any marketing designed to drive conversation, sharing, participation or advocacy.” Cases entered had to prove that the strategy used delivered credible business results. Five silver and eight bronze awards were also announced today, along with the Grand Prix winner. All winning case studies are available to subscribers on Warc’s website.

Not a subscriber? We’ve got you covered. Here’s the executive summary from our winning entry:

This case study demonstrates how Mizuno, with almost no media budget, set out to convince runners to give their running shoes a chance. Given that the shoes’ benefits were only felt when out on the road rather than when tried on in the shop, runners needed to be encouraged not simply to try the shoes on, but to try the shoes out. By embracing the challenge, the Mizuno team reinvented the trial experience and propelled a brand with 1% share of voice to its most successful sales year ever and into the center of the running world’s conversation about shoes.

The situation facing Mizuno in 2012 wasn’t ideal. Their expensive, high-quality running shoes felt stiff and hard compared to other brands in the category, and although Mizuno had a small group of brand loyalists, many had been angered by recent changes to one of its most popular shoe models: the Wave Rider.

Thankfully, those loyalists weren’t likely to switch to another make of running shoe because runners rarely switch brands. Of course, such an establishment of brand loyalty could also be very bad news, considering how uncomfortable Mizunos felt when runners tried them on in the store and compared them to other, more cushioned, brands.

Agency research revealed that running is believing — that the true feeling of Mizuno running shoes comes not from trying them on in the store but from running in them.

We aimed to build a sustainable community of fans to serve as an ongoing trial generator for Mizuno Running, and our efforts paid off:

Enrolled 45,429 running junkies in the Mezamashii Run Project

Welcomed more than 500,000 new unique visitors to, an increase of 40% versus the same time period the previous year

Brought 739,440 visitors to the Mezamashii Run Project home page

Organically added almost 16,000 new Twitter followers (+259%) and 61,000 new Facebook likes (+150%)

Generated more than 33,000 interactions with ongoing monthly running challenges
We aimed to grow favorability among running junkies and achieved extremely high levels of top-box appeal, relevance and purchase interest. We aimed to sell a lot more shoes, and sales grew by 18.6%, dollar shares by 32.1%.

Congratulations to the team behind the work and their efforts to make runners out of all of us in our newest Mizuno Running campaign, What if Everybody Ran?