To celebrate its 80th anniversary, fashion brand Sperry will be sending 80 adventurers around the world to partake in odysseys meant to pull them out of their comfort zones. The content-driven campaign, created out of Mono, will be tapping musicians, bloggers, entrepreneurs and photographers to go out in the world to discover something new, in the spirit of founder Paul Sperry, who launched the company in 1935.
"Odyssey Project" will give control over the campaign's content to the 80 "ambassadors" who are experiencing it. For example, one of the first is Kari White, an entrepreneur and sister of Olympian Shaun White, who sets off to Ireland to discover more about her Irish roots -- appropriate for St. Patrick's Day.
Another odyssey follows Bebban Stenbor and Ted Malmros, members of Swedish band Shout Out Louds, who experience the unique, 3,500-year-old culture of the nomadic Moken people of Thailand. A third adventure sent Brooklyn photographer Andre D. Wagner to experience the beauty of Hawaiian island Lanai -- but cut off from all human contact.
We've seen brands send consumers on surprise adventures before (Heineken's "Departure Roulette" is a classic example), but Sperry Top-Sider President Rick Blackshaw said, "What makes this distinct from other brands is that we don't know what a traveler might see or learn on their odyssey; or what content that they might share with us. It is authentic storytelling direct from our intrepid consumers and so brings a deeper meaning to the experience."
Mono Co-Founder/Creative Director Michael Hart added, "The goal of the project isn't to produce eye candy or thrilling adventure videos; it's about enabling real people to have an epic experience that allows them to learn something about themselves and the world around them."
Simultaneously, Sperry will be moving out of its own comfort zone, since it will be relinquishing the story to those who experience it. "We aren't orchestrating the experience or controlling the story telling," said Mr. Hart. "We allow the travelers to share in their own way so that others will also be inspired to embark on their own journeys. At its core, it's not about selling or spinning the brand image, it's about living the brand values."