Reebok enlists "hottest grandpa" as it reveals strategy to become China's best fitness brand

Reebok China's new brand ambassador Wang Deshun

Reebok has enlisted “China’s hottest grandpa” Wang Deshun as a brand ambassador as it announces plans to open 500 stores by 2020 and create China specific products in a bid to become China’s best fitness brand.

The 80-year old model, who made headlines globally after he walked the runway at Beijing Fashion Week in 2015, will front the fitness brand’s marketing activity across China.

Deshun features alongside actress Yuan Shanshan and actor Wu Lei in the “Be More Human” campaign, which aims to “inspire people from all walks of life to strive to achieve their full potential through fitness”.

Deshun, who only seriously got into fitness and training in his 70s, has helped to challenge China’s views on aging and fitness, and Reebok is hoping he will help the brand appeal to older audiences as part of its aim to have multi-generational appeal.

Chad Wittman, Reebok’s Greater China general manager, said, "Our ‘Be More Human’ message is one that resonates incredibly well today with Chinese consumers eager to live healthier lifestyles and, as a fitness brand, there is no better country to be investing in right now than China.

“We have spent a lot of time and energy putting together a China strategy that meets the specific needs of Chinese consumers in terms of product, messaging and experiences,” said Wittman.

Reebok unveiled its China strategy this week in Beijing, announcing plans to open 500 ‘FitHub’ stores across China by 2020, with 50 stores scheduled to open in 2017. Reebok will work with its Chinese retail partner Belle to create the signature stores, which are inspired by CrossFit spaces. Reebok has already opened seven FitHub stores in recent months across China.

The brand is looking to take advantage of China’s booming fitness market – particularly the running category - and plans to sell products that are designed and made in China to meet the specific needs of Chinese consumers, in addition to its global product range.

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