Client: Skechers USA (Manhattan Beach, CA)
PR Team: Ogilvy PR (Los Angeles)
Campaign: Skechers/Britney Spears International Marketing Campaign
Time Frame: December 2000-February 2001
When hip footwear maker Skechers signed on teen queen Britney Spears to
appear in print ads around the world (though not in the US), the company
knew it had a good thing going to highlight its brand
Still, it wanted to do all it could to garner publicity for the campaign
- the company's first worldwide celebrity effort - both to coax
distributors to carry the shoes and to drive consumers into stores.
So for the first time ever, Skechers brought on an outside PR agency,
Ogilvy, to coordinate the global PR push. "We had a limited amount of
time and a lot of ground to cover," explains Sarah Sittig, Skechers'
international marketing director.
Ogilvy had its work cut out for it. The PR would be straight media
relations, but because of the global scope, would require incredible
coordination. Skechers sells its products in more than 100 countries and
territories through 35 distributors, though Ogilvy's assignment only
covered about 15 countries.
"We were very excited about the campaign, and interested in getting the
word out," says Sittig.
Ogilvy's Los Angeles office worked with nine of the agency's
international outposts, including Japan, Spain, the UK and Denmark. It
handled Canada itself, and worked with an independent agency in
The Los Angeles office created press releases targeted for trade and
consumer publications. It worked with PR Newswire to translate them into
more than ten languages and dialects. The releases were further tweaked
at Ogilvy's local offices, which distributed the releases and press
The campaign was global, but some of the tactics were local. For
example, Philippine agencies tend to deliver press kits by hand because
the mail service is erratic, says Ogilvy account supervisor Karin
One problem was finding the right time to release the information. "We
were initially planning to go out before the New Year," says
"We held back after we realized certain countries really quiet down
during the last week of December."
The release went out in each country on January 8 at 8am. The ads
launched slowly through the month, and were fully launched in
Spears was featured in several print ads and point-of-purchase displays
wearing the Skechers Sport Energy-style jogger in three different colors
selected by she of the exposed midriff.
The message in the press releases sought to do the same as the ad: to
show that, just like Britney, Skechers footwear is "fresh, youthful, and
"We were trying to drive purchases from consumers and get distributors
to drive it into the stores," says Pellmann. "When you combine the
Skechers brand name with Britney Spears, it lends a lot of credibility
to the campaign."
The media response was so strong that Ogilvy had to work with many
outlets - such as the Toronto Sun - that wanted to develop contests and
promotions around Skechers, giving away free footwear.
"For a good month and a half, we were fielding calls from the media
about running contests," says Pellmann. "A music TV show in Sweden asked
for shoes to do giveaways on the air."
Most daily newspapers and fashion and footwear trade magazines, in
addition to consumer magazines, in each country covered the campaign.
These outlets included the Toronto Sun (Canada); The Mirror, Daily
Telegraph, and Footwear Business International (UK); Kitkrankt
(Netherlands); Mujer 21 (Spain); Shuhmarkt Trends & Mode (Germany); The
Oriental Daily News (Hong Kong); Senken Shimbum (Japan); Cosmopolitan,
Elle, and The Daily Sports (Korea); as well as The Daily Tribune and
Manila Times (Philippines).
Skechers recently released a second tier of advertisements featuring
Britney Spears, though no supporting PR is planned this time.