John Butler, Co-Creative Director, Butler Shine Stern & Partners

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What was the creative mandate behind the work?

We needed to create a campaign that would reach a consumer who's very difficult to communicate with-a consumer who really can't stand marketing. We needed to let people know that the Converse brand stands for originality, and that as a marketer we support and encourage all forms of self-expression.

How did this idea come about?

We sat in a meeting with the client during the pitch process and we all believed that they, Converse, did not own their brand anymore, the consumer did. For some 90 years or more, an army of evangelists have become passionate about Converse. They made it their own, and now it's a delicate balance when you try to speak to them from the corporate level. We told Converse that if they truly believed that the consumer owned this brand, the idea of involving them in the marketing made sense. They bought it.

What was your inspiration?

Technology today-Macs, DV cameras, ProTools, Final Cut-has made it easier than ever for consumers to create. This was an idea whose time had come, mostly because the barriers to creativity have been broken down. There is a somewhat even playing field now, and it's all because of technology.

Why do you think it's been successful?

People are tired of being talked at. Every agency stands up there in front of their clients and says, "We want to have a dialogue with our consumers," and then they show a bunch of stuff that is essentially them talking at consumers. This one really did what it set out to do. There were no tricks, no ringers-these were completely art direction- and creative direction-free. Ninety percent of the campaign was created by real people, not marketers.

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