Timberland Launches TV Ads, Mobile Apps

Timberland/iphone app

The Timberland Co. is launching an integrated marketing campaign with the goal of creating a dialogue with young city dwellers around the world.

The campaign includes mobile iPhone and BlackBerry applications and games; interactive billboards; branded videos and commercials on Hulu; customizable Pandora radio stations; reverse sidewalk graffiti; "station domination" out-of-home advertising; in-store promotions and retail windows; and public relations targeting blogs and magazines.

The campaign launches over the next two weeks in select U.S. markets, Italy and the U.K. It supports the Strathman, N.H.-based company's eco-conscious fall 2009 footwear collections, including the new Timberland Mountain Athletics and Earthkeepers collections.

Mediahub from Mullen and Ansible Mobile created "Expedition Timberland," a mobile iPhone and BlackBerry application that enables outdoor enthusiasts to discover adventures in big cities. The app guides users to hiking trails, neighborhood walks, secret spots for relaxing and the best city views, among other outdoor-oriented activities.



The customized city application for iPhone is available now in six U.S. markets: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Denver and Minneapolis. The mobile app for BlackBerry launches Sept. 21, and 10 additional markets will be added beginning in November and into early 2010. Through a voting mechanism built into the application, consumers will have a say about which pre-selected markets and special features are added to the mobile media program.

This is Timberland's first mobile application, says Vivian Lefebvre, Timberland, senior manager for North American marketing. "We plan to update the app with new product and expeditions seasonally throughout the year," Lefebvre tells Marketing Daily.

Additional creative elements for the application include a game for the iPhone called "Timber Trail" that invites players to select the appropriate Timberland gear in order to overcome various obstacles; a music component for the iPhone that creates an adventurous playlist and updates with fresh music selections each week; a gear section that provides product information and a WAP site with a full Timberland product catalog featuring mapping and search functionality. Both the application and WAP site have click-to-call functionality for consumers to buy Timberland product and locate stores.

The mobile app already has received some positive reviews online. Jayvee Fernandez on men's site recommended the app for download. "The Timberland Expedition app is an extensive tool by Timberland that does a couple of things: the app updates itself with regular playlists which you can listen to, so you have new music all the time. Timber Trail is Timberland's game that puts you on a hiking trail adventure," Fernandez writes. "Lastly, you can search for hiking expeditions from Timberland's built in database of places to go. The game {is} actually quite disturbing as you're placed in a position where mother nature wants to scare the $#!t off your pants by putting wolves and the entire army of nature after you -- you gotta RUN into the forest! RUN!"

Timberland partnered with U.K.-based creative agency Leagas Delaney to create TV, print and out-of-home.

The TV spot, titled "Bait," shows a trail runner being chased by dangerous animals on a run through the forest. The hero is seen successfully outrunning a wild boar, a pack of wolves and a bear across difficult terrain, aided by his Timberland Mountain Athletics footwear. The chase is accompanied by the song "Don't Give Up," performed by the Noisettes, an up-and-coming U.K. based-band, and ends with the tag-line, "If you're not fast, you're food." It broke Sept. 8 in the U.S. A separate spot for Earthkeeper launches on national cable on Oct. 26 and begins in Boston and New York a week later, Lefebvre says.

The U.S. media buy focuses on Boston, Denver and Minneapolis with an emphasis on prime time, sports and late-night programming. The campaign also can be seen online with digital sponsorships on Hulu and a create-your-own playlist integration on Pandora. Timberland's last TV campaign was in fall 2008, Lefebvre says.

A print campaign, planned for the U.K., plays off the same "Bait" theme. In addition, the campaign will include an out-of-home campaign featuring reverse graffiti and interactive billboards, as well as a full "station domination" takeover of Harvard Square in Cambridge, Mass. and wrapped "Green Line" subway trains in Boston for one month. In-store promotions, window and point-of-sale displays will also be featured around the world.

Timberland and long-time public relations partner Porter Novelli also have teamed up to develop a communications campaign for fall 2009 targeting trend-setting style and outdoor blogs and magazines. To introduce the Timberland Mountain Athletics fall collection to journalists in New York, the team hosted a series of unexpected city adventures in Central Park led by young outdoor guides.

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