Clarks Shoes have just released their ‘back to school’ television advertising campaign for 2006 in Australia, with two spots featuring a disgruntled shoe repairer appearing on free-to-air channels from January 9.
The 30 second ad opens with an old man walking alongside school boys, muttering all the way. When they reach the bus stop he sits inside the shelter, the boys keeping their distance, not sure what to make of him. In the back seat of the bus he’s alone again, talking garrulously, clearly not happy. He’s not speaking in English, but the violin music hints that he’s may be Russian. We see a shot of girls’ feet in school shoes. Is that a hint about where this is heading? In the end he gets off the bus, wades through a queue of waiting students and opens up his shoe repair shop. Next to his store is a Clarks fitting specialist. It turns out that the man’s hatred is all about the durability of the Clarks school shoes the kids are wearing. The text: “Clarks, Built to fit. Fit to last.”
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Continuing the campaign of the old shoe repairer, the 15 second ad sees him in his workshop with a Clarks school shoe in one hand and a hammer in the other. We watch as he pounds the shoes with the hammer, yelling in his mother tongue (Russian) the reasons why he hates them. “This is for your 5 perfect width fittings, your long wearing soles, your quality padded leather upper”. In the end he notices he is doing no damage to the shoe and wails in disbelief.
The Cummins & Partners team included creative director Sean Cummins, copywriter James Procter, art director Dave Lunnie, account director Melissa Haysom and producers Mark Bradley and Marcus Eley. Michelle Maughan represented the interests of Clarks Shoes.
James Procter, copywriter at Cummins & Partners, the advertising agency behind the campaign, explains the thinking behind it all.
“Building on the Clarks brand heritage of the best fit, the client wanted to highlight the incredible durability of their school shoe range. It was this insight that led us to the thought that this benefit would be pretty good for everyone, everyone except the shoe repairer that is. He seems to see the fact that these shoes will never have to be repaired as the source of all his woes”.
The shot was filmed in and around Melbourne’s suburbs by Jess Bluck, director with Revolver Film with Michael Ritchie, executive producer/producer, Taryn Gold, assistant producer, director of photography Nigel Bluck and production designer Aphrodite Kondos.
Actor for the old man is Ronald Falk, a native of Victoria, Australia.
Clarks Australia is part of a worldwide family of Clarks Shoes, started in 1825 when Cyrus and James Clark set up a small sheepskin slipper business in the tiny English village of Street, Somerset. In 1883 William Clark created the first shoe to follow the natural shape of the foot, a revolutionary concept in its time. In 1950 Nathan Clark, inspired by crepe-soled boots worn by British officers in World War II, introduced the Desert boot, the first of Clarks Originals destined to become an international cult classic. In the late 1950s Clarks innovated the breakthrough process of directly vulcanising rubber soles onto leather uppers. In the 1960s Lance Clark designed the world’s first comfort shoe, a moccasin built on Clarks nature-formed last. The Wallabee® went on to join the Desert Boot as a timeless classic. In the 1970s, based on research conducted the previous decade, Clarks introduced the use of polyurethane (PU) as a soling material. Incredibly lightweight, yet virtually indestructible, PU formed the basis for the decade’s many technological breakthroughs. In the 1980s Clarks pioneered the use of air in comfort footwear with the Air Comfort concept for casual shoes. In the 1990s Clarks accelerated its product line expansion to meet the needs of a wider range of consumers. In 1996, Clarks was named “Company of the Year” by Footwear News, an industry leading trade publication.