Sperry is on a mission—to refashion itself from a yuppie boat shoe associated with the yachting set into a lifestyle brand more relevant to millennial adventure-seekers, and it is calling on these consumers to help them do it.
In March, in conjunction with its 80th anniversary, Sperry launched a year-long, global experiential campaign called the Odyssey Project that is sending 80 brand ambassadors (Sperry calls them “Intrepids”) on adventures around the world, then having them document their journey with user-generated content that will appear on its website, social channels and in Sperry specialty retail stores. The hope is that their stories will resonate with the younger demo, ages 13 to 34, that Sperry is trying to reach.
“The idea is to inspire people to create their own odysseys, which can be as small as wearing something you may not normally wear, pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone or trying a new restaurant down the street. Or it could be sailing around the world,” says Karen Pitts, vp of marketing at Sperry. “We are using the 80 shoe boxes and 80 travelers as a way to plant that initial flag.”
Each brand ambassador will receive a shoebox containing a new pair of Sperrys, an itinerary and a challenge to come back with an interesting story. So far Sperry has sent musicians, bloggers, entrepreneurs and photographers to Ireland, the South Asian sea, Hawaii and other far-flung spots. “We filmed the first two odysseys to set a tone, but the stories are the voice of the traveler, and ultimately over time it is the traveler that is supplying the images, the diary entries or pictures that they create through each individual odyssey,” Pitts says. Agency: Mono, Minneapolis.