Asics Finds Itself On Presidential Feet For Two Decades
With the presidential election less than a year away, the folks at running shoe brand Asics have to be on edge.
You see, for the last 19 years, the President of the United States, has gone for runs and walks in their brand.
It's nothing contractual with the White House. It turns out it's just blind luck.
"President Clinton liked our shoes when he was governor of Arkansas," said Gary Slayton, the brand's vice president of emerging business who was then the vice president of marketing. "He used to go a specialty running store in Arkansas to get his GT II's."
When Asics moved on from making the GT II's, they ran off more pairs for Clinton and stored them at the store in Arkansas, which would get them to him when he needed them.
As it turns out, Clinton's successor George W. Bush, when he was the governor of Texas also ran in an Asics shoe: The GT 2000's.
Since it was hard to store anything at the White House, Asics officials found out that the commander of Air Force One was a fan of the brand. So they stashed away Bush's GT 2000's in the belly of the plane, Slayton said.
"In his second term, he had knee troubles and started cycling more," Slayton said.
When Obama was on the campaign trail, the folks at Asics noticed that what would be come the future president was working out in Asics' Gel Nimbus 9's.
When he became president, Asics contacted Obama's staff to set up what had become the usual Asics presidential relationship. Slayton said it was relayed to him that Obama was clear he didn't want anything official.
"His PR people told us that he wanted to use the brands he was comfortable with buying," Slayton said. "He was and is buying Asics, but he also wanted to wear Nike for basketball."
Obama's brother-in-law, Craig Robinson, is the coach of the Oregon State men's basketball team, which is sponsored by Nike .
While everyone will seemingly be focused on the words from the candidates over the next year, Asics officials will surely be looking at their feet.
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