Havaianas sets foot on campus to boost awareness of flip-flops

On September 22, flip-flop brand Havaianas stopped at the University of Arizona to kick off a college tour that includes two-day events at five schools.

Objective: On September 22, flip-flop brand Havaianas stopped at the University of Arizona to kick off a college tour that includes two-day events at five schools. Havaianas, owned by Brazil-based Alpargatas, is working with Alison Brod PR on the initiative to increase brand awareness among US college students, a key demographic, said Elaine Sugimura, president of Havaianas US. The company hopes to increase awareness of the brand at the University of Colorado and University of North Carolina from roughly 50% to 70%, and from 70% to 80% at The University of Arizona, Arizona State University, and USC.

Idea: At each school, the team will work with production company Relevent to set up a pop-up store on the first day and “Color War” games – limbo and water-filled balloon darts, among others – on the second. Wining teams will receive a free trip to Brazil. Marketing to the demographic called for a grassroots, hands-on approach, said Sugimura. “One thing we learned about this demographic is that things have to be authentic,” she added. “By over-promoting, it becomes less cool very quickly.”

Tools: The team is promoting the tour through ambassadors on campus, the Havaianas Web site, and a Facebook page, which includes a program description, activity tips such as “the best way to throw a dart,” and a badge that links to sign-ups. Media outreach includes local radio stations and campus newspapers. “We want it to be very organic and for positive word from the event to spread naturally on its own,” said Frank Weil, marketing director at Havaianas US.

Measurement: Key performance indicators include the number of attendees, level of participation, and retail sales on campus.

Organization: Havaianas US
Campaign: Havaianas Color War
PR Team: Alison Brod PR, Relevent
Launch: September 22
Budget: Undisclosed

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