Case Studies///Converse Gallery 1
Since the 1950s, Converse has had the best ad agency in the world working for them: Dean, Pollock,
Ramone, Cobain, Pop and Warhol.
The brand had always been defined by the people who wore the shoes, not by its marketing. And the way we
saw it, the worst thing any agency could do was mess up what these guys had done for decades.
So we based our idea on the notion that we don’t own the brand, the consumer does.
We decided to let the legions of originals who own the brand create the communications for us. And maybe
along the way we’d discover the next Ramone or Pollock.
Case Studies///Converse Gallery 2
Brand Democracy: Idea
From that thought, we created Brand Democracy: advertising created by the people. We solicited films from
the Converse evangelists. Not commercials. Not scripted talking points. Just 24-second films. The only rule
was that the films not be political or R-rated.
It’s fairly common now, but four years ago, giving consumers control of the advertising was new. This wasn’t
just a marketing gimmick. It made sense for Converse.
And because it was true, it worked. Also, technology had arrived at a place where it enabled regular people
to participate. Between iMovie, digital video cameras, Pro Tools and others, consumers could create in ways
previously reserved for the pros.
Case Studies///Converse Gallery 3
To jump-start the idea, we first went to film schools. Then we went everywhere else. We had over 400 films in
the first 3 months. And the movement grew quickly from there.
Case Studies///Converse Gallery 4
These films weren’t just a couple of friends messing around in the backyard. (Well, a few were.) They were real
works of art that reflected the range of the people who love the brand. At last count, we received over 2,000
films from 20 countries.
In addition to select films airing on MTV, the best films were featured on the Web at ConverseGallery.com.
This forum gave the filmmakers a chance to share their inspiration and ambition, and allowed consumers to
form a deeper relationship with the films and the brand. It was the epicenter of the democratic effort, and was
an original and organic convergence of Web and TV.
Case Studies///Converse Gallery 5
Because we saw these as films, we created movie posters to promote them. They were sent to the artists and
ran as wild postings in key markets.
Case Studies///Converse Gallery 6
We expanded this movement to painters and graphic
designers to create outdoor and print ads. The outdoor
was localized, so a board that ran in LA featured an
emerging LA-based artist.
Case Studies///Converse Gallery 7
We even created a new revenue stream for Converse by developing Product Democracy, a campaign in
which consumers designed graphics on Chuck Taylors. The new styles were then sold around the world. We
enlisted 35 artists to create unique designs.
Case Studies///Converse Gallery 8
Did It Work?
Well, numbers don’t lie. (Except the number seven. Seven lies all the time.)
• Online sales up 80%*
• International sales up 45%*
• 5 million unique visitors and film views from 8/04 to 5/05*
• Increased unique visitors by 135%*
• Increased average site visit by 40% to 7 minutes*
If you value industry awards, we’ve got a few of those, too.
• 2005 Clio
• 2005 One Show - Silver
• 2005 ANDY - Silver
• 2005 Effie - Bronze
Business Week, “Smartest 50” best online marketing ideas
• Among Adweek’s Best Campaigns of 2005
*Based on Holiday 2004 period.