Do Shoes Shape Your Destiny?

ABC King number one shoe store in Estonia, one of the biggest in Baltics started a fall campaign weeks ago called “Everything starts from the shoes.”

However, the campaign’s oversized posters, outdoor print publicity and campaign materials has made many people angry.

In the campaign visuals, there are legs and shoes where one pair is worn, old fashioned and cheap. Another pair is shiny, modern and obviously expensive. Pairs of opposites.

Campaign out-door poster "Everything starts from the shoes"

Campaign out-door poster “Everything starts from the shoes”.
Left shoe: You buy yourself a drink/ Right shoe you will be bought a drink.

Is it too provocative? Is it an ethical way to promote love for a shoe company? How many men and women feel like losers wearing only what they can afford — old and cheap-looking shoes?

The campaign promises to change one’s destiny. While campaigns always promise something, they cannot lie.

Not only are the photos of the shoes and legs disturbing, but also the subtexts under the shots. For example:

Campaign out-door poster "Everything starts from the shoes". Left shoe: a secretary Right shoe: a manager's wife

Campaign out-door poster “Everything starts from the shoes”.
Left shoe: a secretary Right shoe: a manager’s wife

  • Usual secretary versus manager’s wife
  • You buy yourself a drink versus somebody buys you a drink

There are some people who appreciate the company’s brave approach while others think it’s offensive to females because of the messaging. Many argue that this not socially responsible marketing. Many took to Facebook and created parodies of the ad campaign.

One of the Banks have made a parody shoe campaign, secretary above and manager below.

One of the Banks have made a parody shoe campaign, secretary above and manager below.

The company’s marketing manager says that the campaign is fair and ethical and there is no pressure to change gender roles. With “Everything starts from the shoe” they show that everybody in Estonian society has a chance for self-realization and more self-confidence. If you wear a new pair of shoes, you feel more confident about yourself, no matter the gender, profession and age. At the same time, he claims that proper shoes affect your professional career, personal life and self-esteem.

Most of the marketing managers in Estonia think the campaign idea is pretty good but the execution was misguided. All comparisons hurt somebody one way or another.

The key to a successful campaign is to differentiate your message from others and to talk about you and your product. You can surprise, trigger laughter and provoke emotions.

If we look at the campaign through that prism, it is a huge success in just two weeks. It has generated viral status in terms of its wide free flow in social media. Many Estonian women have been touched, saying they dug into their shoe cupboards and think about who are they — wives, secretaries or managers.

The company may lose old customers, but also win many new ones.

Do you think this ad is bad for business?

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