CAMPAIGNS Advertising PR - Making strides in the world market

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

Budget: $30,000-$40,000

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.

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