Dexter Thinks Inside the Box

Mullen’s Latest Campaign Stresses Comfort and Simplicity
BOSTON–People’s feet should feel as comfortable in loafers as they do when they’re propped up on a couch or soaking in a bubblebath.
That proposition is the focus of Mullen’s fall print campaign for Dexter Shoes, which breaks in September issues of national consumer magazines and introduce the positioning line, “Comfort in every box.”
The campaign, budgeted at less than $10 million, consists of executions featuring an overhead view of an open red Dexter shoebox coupled with comfortable furniture. The settings include an overstuffed couch, a bed heaped with pillows, a hammock, a leather armchair and ottoman, and a warm bubblebath, all miniaturized and paired with a comfort shoe.
Ads eschew the company’s recent “Built for the way you really live” tagline, but Dexter will continue to use that line in some future ads, said Steven Lunder, company vice president of marketing and brand manager.
The Dexter, Maine-based client is attempting to stand out from competitors such as Timberland, whose ads have focused on its wilderness heritage, and Rockport, which has involved celebrities in past efforts, said Mullen executive creative director Edward Boches. Rockport also recently came out with a batch of ads depicting bare feet being massaged and caressed by naked men and women [Adweek, Aug. 7].
“We’re trying to own the position of comfort,” Boches said. “We want to very quickly and simply remind you that this is a product that stands for, believes in and is passionate about comfort.”
And while Dexter might not be known for high-fashion shoes, the goal of the ads is to resemble the image-driven advertising of high-fashion companies such as Gucci, without losing sight of the messages about comfort and price, Boches said.
“The style is minimalist and sophisticated,” said Mullen creative director Michael Ancevic. “We kept the color palette restricted because if anything was too bright or too much of a contrast, that flavor would really pop out.” Another challenge was to miniaturize the furniture without making it look as though it had been retouched, Ancevic added.
Ads will run in men’s and women’s lifestyle magazines, such as Sports Illustrated, Esquire, People, Martha Stewart Living and Redbook. They target men and women aged 35-54 with a household income of $50,000 to $75,000. K