The Mezamashii Project | Mizuno Leverages WOM and Social Media to Get Runners to “Join the Quest for More Brilliant Running”

Running hurts. It’s no secret. From elite athletes to newbies, everyone knows running hurts. When the pain seeps in, the mind races with excuses to quit, to give up, to feel less… but we runners power through it to get to the other side, where the euphoric “Runner’s High” is waiting, patiently, to remind us why we keep at it.

All runners experience the pain no matter how long they’ve been doing the sport – there are bad runs, tough workouts, goal races that leave your lungs strained and legs heavy. But there are also amazing runs – adventurous jaunts that make us crave the next time we’ll experience the “Runner’s High.”

It’s those runs, and the blissful sensations that take over when the pain stops, that drive runners to keep lacing up our shoes day after day. We’re all seeking that elusive high.

Enter Mizuno’s new campaign: The Mezamashii Project. Aside from being a fun word to say, mezamashii means “brilliant” in Japanese. It touches on the concept of something being “eye-opening,” awakening a sense of awe and inspiration in your surroundings.

Mizuno says “a more euphoric, ‘mezamashii’ running experience is out there…” and the brand is encouraging the running community to join the quest to find it.

The short video below does a great job of introducing, and showing, mezamashii running:

With this new initiative, the company is hoping to change the way people try on and eventually purchase running shoes.  On the campaign microsite, a pop-up window greets visitors who click the “request an invite” prompt with this message:

“We are on a quest to deliver more mezamashii – more ecstatic, electric, wind-in-your heart running. So instead of spending millions of dollars on advertising to talk about our shoes, we’re putting our money where your feet are and putting our shoes on runners’ feet.”

Mizuno believes its shoes are the vehicle needed to bring about more mezamashii running – so much so that it is giving away thousands of free pairs of shoes to runners, banking on the “try-it-and-you’ll-love-it” approach to marketing. In doing so, the company is hoping to build a community of running enthusiasts who will receive inspiration, early access to product launches, and invites to exclusive events.

In the absence of a major advertising campaign to promote and support the project, Mizuno is relying on word-of-mouth and social media to spread the word. They’ve tapped influential running bloggers to kick off the project as founding members, who not only receive a free pair of Mizuno shoes but also have the opportunity to give away shoes to their readers.

I have to commend the team behind this campaign for creating stunning assets that can be easily shared via social media channels. There is inspiring imagery (that I expect we’ll see going viral on Pinterest soon) and short, nicely executed videos.

In addition to relying on runners to launch the project on their own social channels, Mizuno is using its official YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter profiles. There is also a Pinterest account, but there isn’t much content there yet.

Knowing there are always runs that are going to hurt, the message of this campaign is a great way for runners to remember just how amazing the sport can be. We runners get it:  we’re all on that quest for the brilliant run, for that “runner’s high.” It’s what binds us all together, right?

  1. What do you think about the mezamashii project video?
  2. What do you do when you’re in the middle of one of those “tough” runs?

10 thoughts on “The Mezamashii Project | Mizuno Leverages WOM and Social Media to Get Runners to “Join the Quest for More Brilliant Running”

  1. I really like Mizuno. They make great shoes and they seem like a cool company. The video is spot on! Whenever I see other people running (be it around town, or on a video, or tweeting about it), I always think, “I wish I was running right now!” I’m definitely happiest when I am running.*

    • I feel the same exact way! Plus, I think it’s cool that Mizuno believes so much in its product that it is going with the whole “try-it-you’ll-love-it” methodology. I’m very interested to see how that works out for the brand.

  2. i’m a fan of mizuno shoes too and this is a great campaign. i’ve always thought that us runners plow thru all those junky, so-so, good, fair, and decent runs all for the quest of the PERFECT run. 🙂 i’ll take em all! hehe

  3. Meg, this is a “brilliant” post! As runners, we experience those tough runs when our body hurts or even worst, when we are just not mentally there. That bliss point is the balance between mental and physical strength. Experiencing the runner’s high is something you can’t force, it must come organically. It takes every one of those tough runs to make us stronger.

    I love the quote in the video “mind free flowing,” “feet closer to flight,” and “thoughts further from doubt.” Mizuno is describing the physical vs. mental duo that eventually evolves to the brilliant run. You build up to that level and constantly strive for that moment! And when you experience it, you are reminded why you love running! Those tough runs just help us appreciate those beautiful moments!

    During tough runs, I start to hear the negative nancy in my mind and sometimes I let her talk a little smack, but then I always try to find something positive in the moment. Another trick for me is to switch to a song that reminds me of a happy moment. That small smile that looks completely goofy to other runners passing me, gets the endorphins kickin’ and makes me go the extra mile!

    • You are exactly right, Jess! Honestly, the ongoing battle between mental and physical is what makes running as rewarding as it is. Sometimes, powering through a run where my mental game is off and those negative thoughts and self-doubt seep in can be more “brilliant” than a ending a great run.

      I love your line about letting the negative nancy talk a little smack before you try to shift your attitude or change the song on your iPod – that’s some great advice.

  4. I’m excited for this campaing, too. I’m a huge Mizuno fan (love, love those shoes – tried others, keep coming back). I like it, also, in that running makes me feel brilliant in a more literal way: running makes me smarter (or at least makes me feel smarter). I don’t know if it’s just because my body and brain are functioning better, or if it’s all those long runs spent contemplating the mysteries of the universe, but running totally makes thinking easier!

    • Oh, that’s a good point! I know I’ve read somewhere about a connection between the brain and physical activity so I’m sure it’s true! For me, running allows me to clear my head which makes room for more creative, productive thinking.

  5. I think they are doing such a great job reaching out to bloggers. No other brands have been so forthright and pro active. They’ve been so great to me and therefore, I really am enthusiastic about promoting the product! –Ericka @ The Sweet Life (

    • That’s great to hear that the brand team is engaging with bloggers in a positive way. As a communications professional, I’ve certainly heard my share of horror stories when it comes to blogger relations programs. That’s why I try to highlight the good ones here!

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