I believe it was Jim Carey in his unforgettable performance in The Mask that first exclaimed the words, “Somebody Stop Me!”, but someone at Reebok should be looking in the mirror and shouting the same this week after the company announced its latest retail partnership that is bound to confuse the brand’s image even further in the mall.

The brand has come so far in the minds of the all-important urban male consumer, but instead of building on its newfound relationship with the demographic it has coveted for so many years, the company once again proves that it will chase after an opportunity to sell shoes rather than build business for the long term.

Reebok and teenybopper retailer Limited Too announced a partnership that includes Reebok footwear in Limited Too’s stores, website, and “catazine” — the retailer’s product and promotions guide which is mailed to more than 4 million girls several times per year.

RBK and Limited Too will launch its Preferred Partnership Program in March 2003 in select locations of the retailer’s 510 total stores. Later in the year, the program will be expanded to all company stores currently selling footwear.
After trying so hard for so many years to shed its image as a “soft image” brand, RBK is now firmly “pretty in pink” as it jumps into bed with the pre-teen consumer’s Mecca for gooey girl fashion.

>>> This now gives Reebok three strategies for the mall. Homer Simpson for Sears, Allen Iverson and his posse for Foot Locker, and now Limited Too. Will the real Reebok please stand up?