Unseen ‘Doc Martens’ Reappear in U.S. Ads

DALLAS-Jackhammer here has launched its first branding work for Dr. Martens since landing the account in May from Air Wair Ltd., the brand’s Rushden, England-based parent.
A series of four ads-running as print executions in consumer magazines and doubling as in-store posters-seeks to continue positioning the shoes-dubbed “Doc Martens” by enthusiasts-as the anti-establishment footwear of choice.
The ads are running in current issues of Rolling Stone, Bikini and Raygun and will break in Details and Spin before year’s end, according to Jackhammer principal Todd Tilford. Television is expected to join the media mix next year. Spending for the effort was undisclosed.
Tilford said the work, which marks a return to U.S. advertising for the brand after a hiatus of more than a year, will also be used internationally. Client executives could not be reached.
In one execution, the ink from a sentence-“The world is full of generic, mass-produced, homogenized products. Don’t become one.”-appears to bleed until it takes the shape of a bar code. Other ads use in-your-face graphics and headlines like, “The mainstream is polluted” and “You start out and end up just like everyone else. What happens in between is up to you.”
Absent from all of the executions are shots of the Dr. Martens line of shoes and boots. The product-free ads are a departure from the last U.S. print work for the brand, created by Cole & Weber in Portland, Ore.
“What the client liked about our work is that we try to blur the line between advertising and ‘brand art,’ ” Tilford said. To test that theory, Air Wair is selling the ads as posters at one of its outlets in London.
Jackhammer picked up creative duties for Dr. Martens after sending unsolicited samples of its work to Air Wair global marketing director John Walbrecht. Though Jackhammer has been given the lead creative agency nod, Air Wair continues to work with Harrison Carloss in Newcastle-Under-Lyme, England, on various assignments.