Timberland is a $1.1 billion footwear and apparel company focused on becoming a more powerful global lifestyle brand. To reach this goal, it is critical for Timberland to expand its apparel offering and grow the U.S. business. Timberland’s commitment to apparel was evident this fall in their largest-ever advertising campaign centered around the theme, “For the Journey.” Cone was charged with bringing the campaign and the new apparel offering to life to deepen retailer and media interest in this critical category. Cone rose to the challenge by holding a major event that re-created realistic, outdoor scenes depicted in the advertising campaign to showcase the functionality and authenticity of Timberland’s apparel products. The results exceeded all objectives.
Growing its apparel business worldwide is a key strategic priority for Timberland. Supporting this priority, a multi-million dollar campaign debuted in September 2001 with an integrated launch featuring a national 30-second television spot, national print, key market outdoor and co-op advertising. Timberland enlisted Cone to bring its apparel offering to life in an authentic and creative way while unveiling the company’s significant campaign.
To remain true to the apparel’s functionality and consistent with the advertising messages, Cone re-created realistic, outdoor scenes portrayed in the advertising campaign – showcasing the authenticity of Timberland’s apparel products. Cone created six vignettes with real ice and rain and equipment to put Timberland’s products to the test in a creative, fun and interactive environment. Bringing the television and print advertising to life was an unusual and successful way to engage retailers, reporters and financial analysts in the true essence of the Timberland brand. With a total budget of $150,000, Cone worked closely with sales and marketing to create an integrated event that authentically launched the apparel line with support from the advertising campaign’s impact and key brand messages.
The event was held in August, considered by many as not the most opportune time to hold a NYC event. However, a key retailer event was being held at the same time and Timberland saw this as an opportunity to have quality face time with the many key retailers from around the world who would be in the city attending this event. Cone contacted key trade and consumer media to gauge their interest around the event concept as well as the timing. We also researched and met with numerous production companies to determine the best ideas to deliver a high-impact event that met the client’s objectives. The audience had to feel as though they stepped “inside the journey” and were experiencing the brand first-hand.
· Create top of mind awareness around Timberland’s apparel offering among key trade audiences (retail partners, media and industry influencers)
· Generate trade and business/marketing news media coverage about Timberland’s purposeful apparel offering
· Launch Timberland’s new advertising campaign and evolution to a “head to toe” lifestyle brand to drive awareness with key trade audiences
· Key Timberland apparel retailers and customers (buyers, merchandising managers and executives)
· Key media (marketing/business reporters; consumer fashion editors; apparel, outdoor and footwear trades)
· Financial analysts
Strategy and Event Elements
The overall strategy was to host an event in New York City that would “bring to life” Timberland’s purposeful apparel and utilize the new advertising campaign as the “news hook.” The event was held at a new venue called EYEBEAM (a 10,000 sq. ft. warehouse space). Timberland’s guests were amazed as they walked off the street into an outdoor environment with real trees, campsites and projections of clouds on the ceiling – clearly exhibiting the company’s authentic and functional products and how they help protect the wearer from the elements.
To bring Timberland’s socially responsible attributes to life, the catering was provided by four top NYC restaurants who also happen to be part of the Share Our Strength network (SOS). SOS is one of Timberland’s non-profit partners dedicated to easing the world’s hunger issues. Each restaurant—Union Square Cafe, Gramercy Tavern, Eleven Madison Park and Tabla—donated their time and food.
To further communicate the overall objective of the event, Cone developed a provocative invitation that communicated Timberland’s primary message in a fun, engaging and eye-catching way. The invitation was a picture of a naked man at a campsite with the following copy, “See what you’ve been missing from Timberland” on the cover. On the inside, the copy read, “See our new ad campaign literally come to life as we put our apparel to the test. We’ll unbutton, unzip and reveal it all.” The response to the invitation was terrific and it was a very effective tool to assist in driving the primary Timberland advertising and apparel message home.
Once most of the guests had arrived, an actor portraying a canoe on his head moved through the crowd, re-enacting the television commercial in search of the outdoors. When he reached the curtains separating the reception area from the main ad vignette space, they opened up to unveil a vast outdoor re-creation of various vignettes reflecting the “For the Journey” campaign.
The ads from the print campaign were brought to life through realistic environments replicating scenes from the ads, from an ice fishing to a rainy camp site. The guests were encouraged to interact with the actors in the vignettes and to take a closer look at Timberland’s spring 2002 products on the displayed bust forms. After 30-minutes, a yellow cab with the canoe strapped to its roof drove through and off center stage, honking its horn to draw the crowd’s attention as the lights came down and the speaking program began.
The importance of this event as a way to communicate the company’s evolution to a “head to toe” lifestyle brand was evident by the involvement of CEO Jeffrey Swartz at the event. Joining Swartz was the company’s new Chief Marketing Officer Frank Bifulco. The new ad campaign represented Bifulco’s first major initiative at Timberland. The two delivered remarks highlighting the new fall television and print ads, the company’s commitment to its apparel business and its strategic global marketing direction. Cone developed the message points for the executives’ speeches and media interviews, which the agency facilitated both before, during and after the event. Additional talking points were written to provide actors with product features and attributes. There was also a guest raffle for the canoe from the TV commercial & a $400 gift certificate to Gramercy Tavern.
Measurement of Success
The Timberland “For the Journey” event achieved or exceeded every objective set forth by the client.
1.) Create top of mind awareness around Timberland’s apparel offering among key trade audiences: This event definitely created a “buzz” with the editors and retailers. Over 35 key retailers attended the event. Among those in attendance were Macy’s, Federated, Dillard’s, the May Company and Belk’s. Additionally, 65 editors representing 36 media outlets attended the event. Among those in attendance were DNR, MR, GQ, Details, MTV, Vanity Fair, Men’s Health, The Source and Business Week. The following are quotes from two of the attendees: “This event is incredible! Events like this make us want to do more business with Timberland.” – Belk’s Buyer. “This event is amazing, bringing the ad campaign to life is inspiring! I want to go hiking.” - DNR, Jeffrey Bissell, associate market editor.
2.) Generate trade and business/marketing news coverage about Timberland’s apparel: The event was an overwhelming success, generating more than 20 million media impressions to date. To support the Timberland brand event and generate media interest, Cone developed a tiered media list and corresponding story pitch angles to communicate the growth of Timberland’s apparel business, the advertising campaign launch, and the company’s positioning as a global, integrated lifestyle brand to the business, trade, advertising/marketing and consumer media.
3.) Launch Timberland’s new advertising campaign and evolution to a “head to toe” lifestyle brand to drive awareness with key trade audiences: The event created media “buzz” around Timberland’s new ad campaign focused on apparel. Cone produced a video showcasing the event and highlighting Timberland’s apparel offering for the MAGIC Show (an apparel trade show), as well as for use in the Timberland New York showroom. The video reinforced to Timberland’s key trade partners the company’s commitment to the growth of its apparel line and continuing evolution to a global “head to toe” lifestyle brand. The video was a great tool for those who were unable to experience the event first-hand (see enclosed). DNR summed it up best: “The company christened its largest-ever global ad campaign…Actors, scripts, fake rain and all. The new Timberland is much more fun than the old Timberland”