Pyro ‘Recools’ Hightop Sneaker

Artistic ‘Blank Canvas’ Image Makeover for Converse’s Classic
DALLAS–Drawing from the simple composition of hightop sneakers, Pyro Brand Development launches a print campaign for Converse’s Chuck Taylor’s this month.”
The work is the first from Pyro for the venerable line of athletic shoes. The shop’s assignment: “recool” the brand.
“Chuck Taylor’s is a classic American brand that a lot of people have come in contact with,” said Pyro creative director and principal Todd Tilford. “But not everybody sees them as part of their lives today.”
“What we need to do is reconnect the hanging plug,” Tilford continued. “It hasn’t fallen out, but the juice is no longer there either.”
Targeting late-teen to early-20s trendsetters, the new campaign will combine print and promotional events. Working with the blank canvas theme, Pyro plans to plaster New York and Los Angeles with a version of the print ad that contains nothing but white space, a monochrome sneaker in one corner and the campaign tagline, “Just rubber and a blank canvas.” The idea is to encourage spontaneous street art, in addition to “open canvas” nights at area nightclubs and free canvas–not just poster–giveaways at Chuck Taylor’s point-of-sale locations.
The sneakers themselves will be used as canvases by artists and poets; and all art will be showcased on the client’s Web site as well as in a future gallery exhibit.
Magazine buys for the print campaign include Interview, Paper, Spin, Rolling Stone, URB and Juxtapoz.
“We’re going to start planting seeds and take it from the street up,” said Tilford of the effort, initially budgeted at less than $1 million. “That’s the only way you’re going to be cool and relevant.”
The blank canvas theme allows the advertiser to draw a parallel between the simple sneaker and individual self-expression.
“The desired reaction for the campaign is that Chuck Taylor’s don’t dictate who or what you have to be to be cool. They allow you to be yourself,” reads the shop’s brief for the campaign.
Chuck Taylor’s sought out Pyro, an independently operated division of The Richards Group in Dallas. The client was attracted by the agency’s previous advertising for Dr. Martens shoes.
Pyro’s portfolio of clients also includes Hummer, Spyder, ID Software and TV Guide.