Shoe brand Ecco had gone from strength to strength in its homeland of Scandinavia. In Australia however, Ecco had just 3.7% unaided brand awareness. Those that were aware of the brand thought the shoes were comfortable but only 9% saw Ecco footwear as stylish. And that was a challenge area as style always came first for Australian women. They were choosing to sacrifice comfort for that pair of heels they simply-couldn’t-live-without and resorting to a range of tactics to help take the edge off the pain. 88% of women admitted to lining their shoes with bandages or tape to protect their toes and heels. A small number even admitted to shoving toilet paper in their shoes during a night out. Ecco set out to prove to women that Ecco footwear could solve their shoe-related problems.
The key objectives were to make women see Ecco shoes as both comfortable and stylish – increasing the style perception from 9% to 15%, turn Australian women into Ecco advocates – increasing the volume of online conversations by 50% and positivity by 5%, and finally, drive a 10% YOY increase in sales.
Australian women had been conditioned by fashion brands to believe that comfort and style cannot coexist. To make it even tougher, experts were inundating women regularly with fashion and beauty claims that did not translate in the real world. This led to the consumer insight: Australian women wanted to believe that style and comfort was possible in a shoe but needed to hear it from ‘women like them’ before they could trust the claim.
The strategy was to use real women to change the conversation by giving undeniable proof that style doesn’t have to be sacrificed for comfort.
The idea was to host a chic catwalk in one of Sydney’s most iconic locations, a catwalk so long that no one would be able to fake comfort. Ecco’s catwalk event had two notable differences from a regular fashion show. The first was that the end of the catwalk couldn’t be seen and the second, that there was not a model pout in sight. Ecco’s real models smiled for the entire 2.812 kilometres as they experienced first-hand the comfort and style of Ecco shoes. Ecco then amplified their smiles to the masses through magazine and online executions plus its audience’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter feeds.
In the weeks leading up to the catwalk Ecco built excitement by publicly recruiting for an unusual type of model: one with absolutely no experience. Ecco’s model for the day competition allowed real Australian women to vie for a spot on the record-breaking catwalk through their social media assets. The competition winners were accompanied by other, better-known, everyday women - bloggers, stylists and fashion writers. These women were invited to walk and then talk. Each brought attention to Ecco and the world’s longest catwalk editorially.
They let their readers, clients and friends know that comfort and style can coexist - in the form of Ecco shoes.
Exclusive coverage of the record-setting event was sold into one of Australia’s top-rating morning TV programs. In a 4-minute segment The Morning Show brought the catwalk to a broader group of Australian women, further validating Ecco’s promise of comfort and style.
Ecco’s 2.812 km catwalk smashed the world record and grabbed media attention. Ecco secured a 263% return on investment through the coverage alone. 35% women thought Ecco shoes were stylish. The catwalk sparked a 117% increase of online Eco conversations. The most common talking points were the record-breaking catwalk and Ecco’s latest range of shoes. Positivity of the conversations increased by 8% as women shared the good news of a shoe that is both comfortable and stylish. Ecco saw a 16% YOY increase in sales during the campaign period.