In a saturated sneaker market, San Francisco-based Allbirds opened two years ago with a new offering—a running shoe made of wool—and quickly won fans with its innovation. Now the brand is pushing a new sneaker made from eucalyptus fibers and a quirky brand campaign to go with it.
The marketing effort comes via Opinionated, the new Portland, Oregon-based agency helmed by advertising vet Mark Fitzloff and hired by Allbirds in November.
"It's a great opportunity for us to make sure everybody knew Allbirds not just as a wool shoe company but rather one committed to innovation with materials," says Julie Channing, VP of marketing at Allbirds.
The work includes out-of-home, digital, social and audio ads. One 30-second spot promotes the visceral feelings of comfort around wearing the Allbirds brand, with words like "soft," "cozy," and "sheep" appearing on screen alongside images meant to evoke such objects and feelings. Fitzloff notes that pursuing a quirkier advertising direction, and not taking itself too seriously, should help differentiate Allbirds from the competition. In its two years so far, the brand has already spurred plenty of knockoffs.
"What makes this brand special, and makes the work different, is being able to tell an authentic, positive story in a way that clearly brings some levity, some lightness to it," he says.
They declined to disclose the budget for the campaign.
Allbirds late last year opened its second store, a concept shop in New York City expanding on the original retail outlet in San Francisco. The company, which has received nearly $30 million in funding according to Crunchbase, says it has sold one million pairs of shoes.