Timberland Answers Call of the Wild

Footwear and outdoor apparel company Timberland has launched a multifaceted campaign that includes a TV ad by London shop Leagas Delaney that casts a trail runner as “bait” for wolves, a wild boar and a hungry bear.

Along with the pulse-pounding, cinematic spot, the effort from the client also features iPhone and Blackberry applications and games; interactive billboards; Hulu videos; sidewalk graffiti; customizable Pandora radio stations; and a Harvard Square subway station takeover in Cambridge, Mass., not far from the client’s Stratham, N.H., headquarters.

The goal for the program, per Theresa Palermo, senior director of marketing at Timberland N.A., is to engage millennial customers “online, on their phones and out in major cities around the world.”

In terms of urban outreach, a centerpiece of the campaign is a mobile phone app called “Expedition Timberland” from Mullen’s MediaHub and Ansible Mobile. The customizable product guides users to hiking trails, neighborhood walks and “secret spots for relaxing and the best city views” in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Denver and Minneapolis, the client said. More markets will be added in short order.

The “Bait” commercial, directed by Lynn Fox and breaking now in the U.S., U.K. and Italy, is propelled by quick-cuts, (literally) hair-raising animal f/x and a rollicking tune called “Don’t Give Up” by Brit band the Noisettes. “If you’re not fast you’re food,” warns the tagline at the end.
In keeping with the campaign’s outdoors theme, Boston-area “Green Line” trains will soon be wrapped for one month with signage as part of the subway-station takeover.

Spending was not disclosed, but the effort would rank as Timberland’s most integrated and complex marketing push in some years.

The client spent $11 million on domestic ads in 2008, up from $4 million in ’07, excluding online efforts, per Nielsen.

Nielsen Business Media