CAMPAIGNS: Baby Bowl tackles better-fitting shoe - Special Event

Client: Payless ShoeSource (Topeka, KS)

Client: Payless ShoeSource (Topeka, KS)

Client: Payless ShoeSource (Topeka, KS)

PR Team: Barkley Evergreen & Partners (Kansas City, MO)

Campaign: Baby Bowl I

Image Building

Time Frame: October 16, 1999 to January 26, 2000

Budget: dollars 250,000

NFL players may have received a bad rap lately, but Payless ShoeSource

showed them up to be good guys in promoting its line of children’s


In preparation for the launch of its ’Smart Fit’ technology, meant to

ensure a better-fitting shoe, Payless wanted to educate consumers about

health issues surrounding proper foot care and shoe selection.

Barkley Evergreen & Partners came up with the idea of a year-long effort

called ’Baby’s First Shoes,’ in which Payless would give away free shoes

to every baby born in 2000. Parents bring their newborn to a store and

fill out a form.


To launch the program, Barkley Evergreen decided to stage a miniature

Super Bowl - Baby Bowl I - on January 26 in Atlanta, the site of Super

Bowl XXXIV (and five days before the game).

Ten babies between seven and 12 months old would participate in a

crawling race, with NFL players serving as coaches. ’There’s so much

coverage of the Super Bowl that the media is looking at alternative

stories,’ says Mike Swenson, president of Barkley Evergreen.


Barkley Evergreen booked the Omni Hotel near the Georgia Dome for the

event and worked with churches and charitable groups to find babies in

the Atlanta area to participate. The agency also secured 10 NFL players

as coaches, as well as retired NFL referee Jerry Markbreit as referee

and NFL announcer Randy Cross as the announcer. The players received

money to donate to a charity. Each baby received a dollars 100 savings

bond and a Payless gift certificate.

Barkley Evergreen designed a stadium set and event signage and created a

winner’s trophy and large check presentations. The agency also shot

footage for a VNR and organized a live Webcast of the event. It worked

with DWJ Television to arrange a satellite media tour, which included

interviews with the players and pediatrician spokesperson Dr. Steven

Parker and live event coverage.


An ice storm days before caused two football players to arrive late,

forcing two babies to withdraw from the race. Still, the event drew

about 150 attendees, including press, players, parents and Payless


Barkley Evergreen claims 292 TV airings with Baby Bowl I footage,

totaling more than 28 million audience impressions. The SMT had about 13

airings and 711,825 audience impressions. Articles with color photos ran

in the Arizona Republic and the Topeka Capital-Journal, among other



Barkley Evergreen and Payless will continue with a regional program

called ’Baby Needs a New Pair of Shoes.’ Payless expects to give away

more than 2 million pairs of baby shoes this year.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Already registered?
Sign in