Aldo Teams Up With TikTok Stars to Encourage Fans to ‘Step Into Love’

The retailer's latest campaign includes a challenge for users to participate in for a chance at $5,000

TikTok influencers on a train
This team of influencers make up the cast of Aldo's latest spot. Aldo

Fashion footwear and accessory retailer Aldo launched its “Step Into Love” fall campaign today, with a spot set in a New York City subway teeming with TikTok dancers.

The spot, filmed pre-Covid-19, features a woman on her way to work when she is inspired by the people around her to break into dance. Each influencer joins with unique style, aiming to show how shoe and accessory choices can embolden expression. The ad will launch across all multi-channel platforms for the next eight months and live on a microsite with insight into the production and the influencers featured in the video.

The diverse cast is made up of models and dancers Erin Eliopulos, Yuhee Yang, Brit Hay, Johnny Rice and Reyna Nunez, with a special appearance from Mr. B, Aldo’s founder. Daianara Grullon Amalfitano, svp of Aldo, said the brand chose dancers who represented its diverse consumer base from around the world, and who used their energy and platform to connect with audiences through their craft.

The “Step Into Love” campaign also has a challenge component where people can post their own #StepIntoLove dance to the song “Roses (Imanbek Remix)” by Saint Jhn on TikTok and tag @Aldo_shoes by Sept. 1 for a chance to win $5,000. To promote the challenge, the brand brought in TikTok influencers Nia Sioux, Kalani Brooke, D3Mstreet, Cousin Skeether, Isabella Fonte, Mariah Amato, Gabe De Guzman, Sammy Rickey and Big Will Simmons.

Amalfitano explained that the campaign was created tap into the “universal language of dance, music and style,” and that TikTok was the perfect place to use that message to reach a younger audience.

“They only know us as a legacy brand, or as some people refer to us, a mall brand,” she said. “The Gen Z and millennial generations are such a powerful force, and we feel that TikTok could function as an evergreen platform to connect with them.”

Relevant to the current climate

The campaign’s concept and video that aim to spread the brand’s core values of love, respect and integrity in bringing people together were both created before the pandemic and the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May that inspired global Black Lives Matter protests.

Amalfitano said that while the idea appears tailored to the times we are in, it was created with the intention of expressing the morals that have been the core foundation of the brand for nearly 50 years. She noted that the message “was always very intentional, the timing was less so.”

The Black Lives Matter movement has caused brands around the world to reevaluate their own diversity and inclusion efforts. While launching a campaign with a diverse cast meant to encourage connection with and respect for one another’s unique identities, Aldo is continuing to work toward a more inclusive in-house workplace. Amalfitano said the past few months have led to one on one check-ins with associates, council meetings, surveys and, more than anything, continuous learning followed by concrete change.

Aldo said it stands in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and paying the legal fees of its employees participating in protests.

“While this time has been challenging, I love that it’s given an opportunity for brands to change the corporate dynamic,” Amalfitano said. “It’s making us stop and listen, whether it’s to our customers or our associates.”

TikTok’s uncertain future

Created months ago, “Step Into Love” is an interesting intersection of a campaign planned multiple seasons ahead of time to launch on an app known for spontaneous content. One roadblock the brand didn’t expect to face, however, was a possible federal ban of the app in the U.S. when the video and challenge were set to launch.

Amalfitano said Aldo is choosing to stay optimistic throughout the launch of the campaign, created to stay in circulation well into next year.

“One of the things I’ve learned throughout this pandemic is to put our energy into the things we can control,” said Amalfitano. “We’re optimistic that this fun and inspiring channel isn’t going anywhere.”

Kaila is a graduating senior at Villanova University pursuing a degree in PR & Advertising and Journalism. She is currently working as the Social Media Manager for CLLCTVE, and covers brand marketing and retail stories as a contributor for Adweek.