Timberland Co. Strides for Respect

New Campaign, Hiring of Cone Point to a Refocus on Corporate Image
BOSTON–The Timberland Co.’s new print and outdoor campaign, which positions the client as a boot maker first and a do-gooder second, seeks to build a bridge linking “boots, brand and beliefs.”
In addition, the Stratham, N.H.-based footwear and apparel retailer has retained Cone Communications in Boston, known for its cause-related marketing programs, as its public relations agency of record following a review that included incumbent Burson-Marsteller in New York. The assignment reunites Cone president Jens Bang with one of his former employers.
Created by The Martin Agency in Richmond, Va., the ad campaign strives in “direct and straightforward language” to make the client’s corporate philosophy toward volunteerism as fashionable and, perhaps, durable as the products it sells, said Timberland marketing vice president Ken Freitas.
An eight-page insert broke in yesterday’s New York Times Sunday Magazine and is scheduled to run in Vanity Fair and Fast Co. All three publications reach who Freitas called opinion makers.
In addition, single- and double-page ads culled from the insert will run in lifestyle and fashion magazines skewed to particular audiences. Media spending, while not officially disclosed, was estimated by sources at $10 million.
“There is a greatness waiting for you,” reads part of the copy, which then addresses cynics and skeptics who may not buy the positioning with a take-it-or-leave-it attitude: “While we may inspire disbelief or anger or even disgust, this is what we believe.” There is no tagline.
The executions refer readers to Timberland’s main phone number and to its Web site, which was developed by CKS Partners in Cupertino, Calif.
The Web site, like the ads, features product photography shot by Hans Gissinger and links to ServeNet, a program of Youth Service America that matches individuals with volunteer opportunities. In addition, the site details Timberland’s ongoing commitment to CityYear, an urban youth job corps now operating in 10 cities.
The campaign is the first work of copywriter David “Jelly” Helm since his return to The Martin Agency as a mentor for its creative staff and to nearby Virginia Commonwealth University Ad School as a teacher.