Shoe Clients Up Ad Ante

Timberland, Dexter Break Major Campaigns
BOSTON–Two of New England’s top footwear companies are set to launch multimillion-dollar ad initiatives, both of which represent first-time efforts from the clients’ new shops.
Timberland Co. this week breaks an estimated $10 million print and outdoor effort from The Martin Agency, Richmond, Va. Billboards now appearing in major metropolitan areas feature the headline: “Boots that earn your respect.” That line is not intrinsic to the campaign, however.
Instead of adopting a tagline, Martin built the product-specific campaign around a central theme. “Beliefs” promotes both Timberland’s products and its commitment to various causes.
Eight-page inserts in major lifestyle and fashion magazines will be followed by single- and double-page spreads taken from the insert.
Neither agency nor client officials would comment last week.
In its inaugural branding effort for Dexter Shoe Co., Mullen in Wenham, Mass., has crafted a multimedia campaign that pokes fun at serious, Nike-style footwear advertising.
Using the new tagline, “Built for the way you really live,” the $6 million advertising push breaks next month and focuses on both comfort and value, points that the client and agency believe are of key importance to the average consumer.
“I run because I must,” reads the headline of a print execution showing a businessman sprinting between two office towers. The ads break in September men’s magazines, including Sports Illustrated and Men’s Health.
The ads are also scheduled to run this fall in the U.K., France and Japan. Mullen is teaming with various European media buying firms, including SBW in Manchester, England, to execute the buying plan, said Mullen group account director Bruce Gold.
A 30-second television spot using the “I run because I must” line will air nationwide on sports and prime-time programs.
Rather than focus on specific product lines, as Dexter has done in previous campaigns, the current effort “is more about people’s lifestyles, giving them a feel for the brand,” according to Steven Lunder, the company’s executive vice president of marketing and brand manager.
Lunder said Dexter’s overall sales were “down slightly” last year. Sportstyle, an industry publication, pegged the company’s 1997 sales at $300 million, flat compared with the previous year but a strong third in the casual footwear category behind Rockport and Easy Spirit.
Timberland, leader of the rugged shoe category, reported 1997 sales of $434 million, per Sportstyle.