Shoe Carnival is tapping influential dancers and hoping for viral popularity with this year's back-to-school campaign. The shoe retailer and its AOR 22squared are partnering with izo, parent company of DanceOn to collaborate on a series of ads designed to appeal to teens.
The effort kicks off with a 45-second spot featuring stars of DanceOn, the digital-programming brand for music entertainment co-founded by Madonna. These performers - including KK Harris, Austin Spacy, Simrin Player and Du-Shant “Fik-shun” Stegall - engage in a boys-versus-girls battle in a school hallway. The spot ends with the tagline "show 'em whatcha got" by going to Shoe Carnival.
The campaign also includes the "Show ‘Em Whatcha Got” six-week sweepstakes on DanceOn.com that features five shoe brands including Sperry, Fila, Roxy, Skechers and Keds, awarding weekly prizes as well as a grand prize trip for two individuals to attend a concert of their choice, awarded in the form of a StubHub gift card.
The back-to-school platform includes national and local TV, in-store signage and activations, digital, print, mobile and social media initiatives.
For its part, izo will run targeted pre-roll across its music programming, which currently claims more than 300 million monthly views, as well as target its 75 million fans and followers through integrated marketing on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Vine.
Also, the song "Turning Heads" by Banzai featuring Erin Bowman used in the commercial was timed to be released with the campaign for maximum impact.
While it is hard to predict viral success, DanceOn seems to have a winning formula. The company’s viral music video campaigns are designed to increase sales and streams for emerging and established artists. The biggest example is the campaign for Silento’s “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae),” which helped elevate the track to #3 on Billboard’s Hot 100.
The brand is backed by industry heavyweights. izo was originally cofounded as DanceOn by CEO Amanda Taylor, Madonna, Guy Oseary and Allen DeBebvoise as part of the YouTube Original Channels Initiative. DanceOn continues as a destination and brand under izo, the parent company launched at the 2016 Digital Content Newfronts. DanceOn is also a launch partner for Verizon’s go90 mobile-first platform, with plans to produce more than 25 original series through 2017.
Meanwhile, this effort is designed to appeal to the same target audience in previous years, but will also be more relevant to the kids going back-to-school, says the agency. This was a first for Shoe Carnival to be using a network ad to support social influencer stars and feature music as part of the retailer's back-to-school campaign, they say.
Back-to-school is one of Shoe Carnival's peak selling seasons, along with Easter and Christmas. The retailer continues to utilize a mixture of traditional and emerging media channels to reach families. For fiscal 2015, some 53% of its total advertising budget was directed to TV, radio, and digital media. Print media - including inserts, direct mail and newspaper advertising - and out-of-home accounted for the remaining balance. Shoe Carnival's advertising budget was $42.1 million, $41.6 million and $37.6 million in fiscal years 2015, 2014, and 2013, respectively.