When Paul Revere and the Raiders sang, “Kicks just keeping getting harder to find,” they weren’t talking about sneakers. For one thing, sneakers weren’t called kicks back then; for another, they’re definitely not difficult to find. What can be difficult if you’re a teen or young adult is making sure you have the coolest kicks—and if you’re a retailer like Foot Locker, letting those shoppers know that you sell them.
During the 2012 back-to-school season, Foot Locker wanted to stand out from the discount messaging of myriad other retailers. Because its research showed that young shoppers cared less about price than about ensuring that their footwear was certifiably hip, Foot Locker and agency PHD made sure those consumers knew that Foot Locker’s carefully curated sneaker and apparel collection was “approved” by relevant influencers.
So spots on ESPN showed one of the network’s sportscasters shopping the “approved” selection with a friend. Three audience members at a BET music show were given a backstage makeover and then received an informal seal of approval by the host. Vibe magazine created a series of videos for its website hosted by NBA player turned sports analyst Jalen Rose in which, among other things, a Foot Locker employee displayed Foot Locker’s “approved” selection. And Facebook fans were invited to post a photo of their best look for NBA player Kevin Love to give his “K-Love Approved” imprimatur.
Consumers certainly approved of the campaign. In addition to more than 125 million impressions from paid media, PR and social media generated another 252 million impressions. Foot Locker increased its number of Facebook fans by more than 10%. And during the last week of August alone, sales jumped 27%, driving double-digit increases for year-over-year third-quarter sales. Plenty of students, it seemed, got their kicks at Foot Locker.