Converse and BSSP Promote "Brand Democracy"

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"Hold the Phone" by Harry Bliss
Converse and agency Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners unveiled an experiment in what creative director John Butler calls "brand democracy" today with the launch of, a collection of short films inspired by the Converse brand. "As far back as the pitch, the client said, 'We don't really own the Converse brand, the consumer does,' " Butler explains. "So we said, if you really believe that the consumers own the brand, then let's open up the campaign to consumers." The aim is to capture the enthusiasm that has made Converse's classic Chuck Taylor sneaker an icon identified with everyone from Larry Bird to Kurt Cobain.

At the moment, Converse's online gallery includes shorts from the likes of New Yorker cover artist Harry Bliss and video director Alastair McKevitt, as well as a clip from Charles Erdmann and Robin Dafforn, two students at the Miami Ad School. But that's just the beginning. The site includes an open call for new Converse-inspired films and, as the copy explains, "with every contribution, the site will evolve and grow. How big? That's entirely up to you."

"The gallery will continue to be updated," Butler says. "We are continually soliciting and we are continuing to get films in. The agency here is acting as a catalyst and as a creative director. We are the architects of the idea, but this is truly being done by non-advertising people, and I think that's going to be huge for this brand."

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