Merrell is a specialist outdoor activity clothing and garment manufacturer competing with brands like Karrimor, Salomon and The North Face. Whilst all of these brands have a devoted following of customers few, with the notable exception of The North Face, have broken through to a mainstream audience. Moreover the sort of imagery used by these brands; chisel-jawed men hanging off the precipice of a cliff did little to encourage potential consumers into their brands.
Unlike many of the specialist brands in this sector Merrell combines genuine product knowhow with a mantra of accessibility – encouraging and equipping everyone to get outside. In essence the brand is about taking people on a journey to reengage them with the environment and to get some exercise in the process. In terms of communications platform this meant celebrating and championing everyone’s individual experience of the great outdoors.
Taking the leap from couch potato to active sportsperson is a daunting thought for most people. And many of the brands in this category have done nothing to quell that sense of dread. The levels of acceptable achievement seem very high and off-putting. In a digitally informed world people seek inspiration and encouragement from their friends and peers. ‘If they can do it, so can I’ is the maxim of the day. Our work encouraged this behaviour. We created an Online, Press and POS campaign of people engaging in outdoor activity but with one difference. We shot people in action but without any backdrop. We then encouraged potential customers to upload their own images to complete the picture and share. Using GSP data we then populated an interactive site that built a global panorama of where people were and what they were doing.
In the first two weeks of the campaign over 3000 consumers uploaded their own images. A testament to the strength of this idea, what started out as a UK campaign became a European and finally a global one. The first global campaign in the brands 30 year history. Brand awareness increased from 34% to 49% in two short seasons.