CONSUMER CAMPAIGN: Mischief creates paper trail to Onitsuka trainer

Since its UK launch five years ago Japanese trainer brand Onitsuka Tiger has found itself facing stiff competition in a crowded footwear market.

Onitsuka Tiger
Onitsuka Tiger

Campaign: Shin Tanaka Origami Trainer
Client: Onitsuka Tiger
PR Team: Mischief PR
Timescale: August to October 2007
Budget: £4,000

Mischief PR was hired in 2006 to boost brand recognition. A central plank of the agency's pitch was a pledge for PR activity to effectively mould Japanese heritage with urban chic.

This pledge was put into action for the launch of an online campaign for its flagship trainer, the Mexico '66, that focused on origami, the 400-year-old Japanese art of paper folding.

To increase sales of the Mexico '66 and boost brand loyalty through online activity.

Strategy and plan
Mischief offered consumers the chance to make their own paper version of the trainer. Japan-based paper artist Shin Tanaka was recruited to design an origami trainer. A website ( was created, where his design could be printed out.

The website included a video of how to make the paper version of the trainer and details of a competition offering Mexico '66 trainers as prizes for those who emailed their own designs for origami footwear.

Journalists were contacted and directed to the site. A few general opinion-forming sites among young adults, such as Popbitch, were also contacted during August, but the bulk of activity was focused on October.

Measurement and evaluation
The story was featured on more than 300 blogs and online news portals, including Cool Hunting, Sneaker Freaker, Contagious, Popbitch and Hypebeast.

The story was also covered in magazines including Dazed & Confused, Pimp, Vice and Creative Review and there was a feature focusing on the design angle of the campaign on Grafik.

Three months after the launch, the website recorded more than 500,000 hits and attracted 100 different designs. During the same period Onitsuka Tiger recorded a 15 per cent increase in sales of the Mexico '66 shoe. This has prompted the firm to expand the campaign across Europe.

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