Allison Williams Stars in Whimsical Keds Ad Touting Female Empowerment

Ciara and Tori Kelly are also featured in new campaign

Keds is doubling down on its commitment to empowering women with a new campaign starring Allison Williams, Ciara and Tori Kelly.

When Keds launched in 1916, it gave women of the Woodrow Wilson era a less restrictive footwear option, and the brand's current slogan, "Ladies First Since 1916," is a callback to that heritage. "It's a platform that sums up the DNA of our brand. Back then, if you wanted to play sports, run after children, function, this was your first choice. That's who we've been, and that's who we still are," said Emily Culp, CMO of Keds and one of the Adweek 50.

The current campaign, by KBS, continues the theme of last year's ads featuring Taylor Swift, who is still working with Keds. Print ads include taglines such as, "Titans of Industry. Mavens of Style," "Make Your Move. Leave Your Mark," "Never Underestimate a Pretty Face," and "We're Wolves in Zebra Print Clothing."


One campaign video, "Uncharted Territories," features Williams in a beekeeper outfit packing for a trip, filling her suitcase with Keds to match outfits for every occasion. "The story is inspired by Keds' target audience of young women. They're throwing themselves into life and they're experiencing a ton of different avenues. The adventure, itself, is what they're excited about. It shows that she's going where she wants to go and is doing it on her terms," said Jonah Bloom, co-chief strategy officer and co-president of KBS.

Refinery29 cast Williams, Ciara and Kelly through their Here and Now division, a collective of brand influencers. The three stars are ideal spokeswomen because they're all creative entrepreneurs who believe in female empowerment and are hardcore fans of the brand, Culp said. "I was sensitive to finding people who really loved the brand, and in the process of talking to Allison, she had applied the journalism lens. She knew that the U.S. Rubber Company created them and that their original name was Peds. I said, 'I think we're good.' Ciara said, that, growing up, this was the most accessible, fashionable shoe she could buy, so she has a huge fondness for it. Tori's the same way. She grew up with them, fell in love with them, and, in her ad, there's a chessboard because her dad is a master chess player. Each one of these women had input on how we shot them."

Keds is partnering with Refinery29 to produce content for the campaign, including social content as well as interviews with Williams, Ciara and Kelly that discuss pivotal moments in their careers. Refinery29 also curated a roster of more influencers from a range of backgrounds, including female entrepreneurs, musicians, digitally-native fashion influencers and makers. "Keds is really aligned with our mission and our point of view," said Justin Stefano, co-founder and co-CEO of Refinery29. "For us, as a platform that's completely dedicated to women's empowerment, it was a really good fit."

President: Chris Lindner
CMO:  Emily Culp

Chief Creative Officer(s):  Dan Kelleher and Jonathan Mackler
Group Creative Director (s): Julie Liu and Michele Kunken
ACD/ Art Director: Nicole Lucey
ACD/ Copy Writer: Samantha Arcade
Copy Writer: Aaron Rodriguez
Head of Production:  Jenny Read
Agency Producer: Daniel Roversi
Business Manager: Andrea Fagan
Strategy Director: Holly Williams
Group Business Lead: Ritu Sharma
Business Director: Chris Ghent

Special Guest Co-Creative Director: Allison Williams
‘Uncharted Territory’ :30 & ‘Woman’s Touch’ :15

Production Co:
Photographer/Director: Autumn De Wilde                
Director of Photography (DOP): Chris Blauvelt
Executive Producer / Connect The Dots: Meghan Gallagher
Executive Producer / Managing Director Anonymous: Eric Stern
Line Producer / Anonymous: Saul Germaine

Big Sky Edit
Editor: Miky Wolf
Assistant Editor: Colleen McKay, Josh Nowland
Executive Producer: Cheryl Panek                                                                          
Producer: Sarah Van Tassel          

Big Sky Edit
Executive Producer: Cheryl Panek
Producer: Sarah Van Tassel
VFX Lead:  Ryan Sears   
VFX Shoot Supervisor: Ryan Sears
VFX 2D Artist:  Agnes Gunawan
Music / Sound Design:
‘Uncharted Territory’:30
Score a Score
Composer: Daniel Jimenez
Executive Producer / Founder: Jordan Passman
Producer: Jake Weinreb

‘Woman’s Touch’:15
Papa Music
Composer: Ezequiel Flehner
Creative Director / Executive Producer: Damian Minckas

Audio Mix: Heard City
Audio Mixer: Cori Melious
Color: The Mill
Colorist: Adam Scott