What Motivated Stance to Drop Its First Ad Campaign After 9 Years in Business

The brand previously existed mostly through word-of-mouth and social

Stance launched its first-ever campaign in August. Stance
Headshot of Diana Pearl

Stance, which started as a sock brand and has since evolved to include T-shirts and men’s underwear, launched in 2009. But it took until the summer of 2018, almost an entire decade into the company’s life, for the brand to launch its first official campaign.

Candy Harris, Stance’s CMO, told Adweek that the company’s marketing strategy was centered around word-of-mouth communication for a long time. It helped Stance reach a more niche customer and allowed outlets like its social channels to flourish. (The brand has over a million followers on Instagram.) In 2015, the digital-first brand opened up its first brick-and-mortar store in Soho, but the brand’s many threads—its ecommerce business, retail location and online presence—weren’t quite yet sewn together from a public perspective.

“As we began to grow, our retail store grew, our social channels grew and our website grew,” said Harris. “All these worlds really needed to come in together. We learned how important it was that we had a very clear and concise overarching aesthetic and message that brought all aspects of our brand together.”

A brand campaign was how Stance would do just that.

That campaign became “Uncover the Uncommon,” which dropped in August. The idea behind it was to focus on the fact that Stance sold products—namely, socks—that had long been discounted or ignored as a “basic.” The in-house produced campaign features black-and-white photos and video of Stance’s brand ambassadors, which it calls Punks & Poets, with colorful thread printed over images. That thread is the work of artists Victoria Villasana and Jose Rosmissi.

The message of the campaign aligns with Stance’s brand ethos: to “keep pushing, turning what was once a basic into anything but.” Like their products, Harris said the campaign is all about embracing “the idea of self-expression and encouraging people to uncover what is unique about themselves.”

“For the first time, you see the brand message really repeated in all these different points of distribution,” Harris said about the campaign. “Before, all the messages within those distribution points were really unique and specific to that given market. Now, it’s all under the same umbrella.”

Launching “Uncover the Uncommon” may have been a new step for the brand, which saw the majority of its early growth as a product of social media. Now different ways of advertising are a possibility for Stance.

“We were sort of one of those brands that tapped into the huge rise of the social movement over the past 10 years,” she said. “It really got the brand to a certain stage. And now is the first time that we’re starting to turn on the lights on other platforms. Now we’re exploring TV, outdoor ads, so you’ll start to see that in some of our major markets.”

@dianapearl_ diana.pearl@adweek.com Diana is the deputy brands editor at Adweek and managing editor of Brandweek.