Birkenstock says its shoes are ‘ugly for a reason’ in new ad campaign – Sourcing Journal
Birkenstock tells consumers its shoes are “ugly for a reason.”
The German company has launched a global campaign showcasing the benefits of comfort and support over on-trend styling. The three-part video series raises awareness of the importance of foot health, as well as the role shoes play in maintaining it.
“Most people are born with healthy feet and develop painful foot problems because the shoes we wear are often too small, too narrow or have heels that are too high,” CEO Oliver Reichert said. Birkenstock wants to draw attention to the pitfalls of choosing fashion over function “and enable consumers to make more informed decisions no matter what shoe brand they ultimately choose.”
“Without a straight walk, the human species would not have survived,” he added. “It’s all the more surprising that so little research has been done on the human foot.”
Founder and master shoemaker Konrad Birkenstock developed the first contoured arch support device in Germany in 1902. By the 1920s, the shoemaker was educating his peers about foot conditions and proper devices to treat pain. His son Carl Birkenstock continued the tradition, passing it on to his grandson Karl, who developed the brand’s first leather sandal in 1964. Karl Birkenstock’s three sons, Alex, Christian and Stephan each joined the company before 1990, helping the brand develop and patent a number of sandal styles that remain central to the brand’s range today while expanding Birkenstock’s business globally.
Produced by T Brand, the advertising content studio of The New York Times, the paid campaign debuted on The New York Times website on Friday. It features Carol Ward, professor of paleontology at the University of Missouri, who details how humans evolved to walk upright. “Walking upright on two feet and the changes in our feet that enabled us to do so paved the way for all of the other developments that make us human and make humans unique,” she said. The first episode of the three-part series describes the biomechanics of human movement and maps the function of the foot.
Episode two will launch on August 11. Titled “Finding Our Feet,” the video will examine the future of foot health through the lens of Birkenstock’s history in orthopedics. The third installment, “Getting into the Details,” premieres September 21 and examines how quality footwear designed for function promotes foot health. Throughout the four-month period, Birkenstock said further media activations on The New York Times website and its print editions will complement the videos.