Saving sick shoes

Just because you broke the heel on your coveted Manolo Blahniks doesn't mean they're destined for the trash can - at least not if you live in St. John's, Nfld., where the Modern Shoe Hospital can resuscitate 'sick' footwear. (If not, you'll have to fly them in.)

Just because you broke the heel on your coveted Manolo Blahniks doesn’t mean they’re destined for the trash can – at least not if you live in St. John’s, Nfld., where the Modern Shoe Hospital can resuscitate ‘sick’ footwear. (If not, you’ll have to fly them in.)

The 70-year-old single store debuts its very first campaign this month, encompassing print, outdoor, washroom ads and wild postings. The brainchild of Target Marketing & Communications of St. John’s, each instalment is a close-up of footwear getting much-needed treatment, such as a hiking boot with a thermometer sticking out of a gape in its sole, or a high-heel shoe hooked up to an IV filled with ‘blood’ to promote the Hospital’s dyeing service.

‘We wanted a visual presentation, rather than relying on special offers and copy coming out of your yin yang, which is how most players in this category advertise,’ says Noel O’Dea, Target’s president and director of strategic & creative planning.

According to research, some people do indeed have an emotional attachment to their shoes, and will spend upwards of $50 to have them repaired. Adds O’Dea: ‘[The client] allowed us to speak to the heart, and let the heart persuade the mind.’

While it might seem unusual for a single shoe repair shop to hire an ad agency, O’Dea says staff members who used the Modern Shoe Hospital’s service became acquainted with owner Kevin Wright – both businesses are in the old city of St. John’s – who eventually asked them to design P-O-P. ‘The reaction was so positive that he was willing to go a little wider,’ says O’Dea. ‘It’s still a fairly modest campaign – we’re not in broadcast. It’s relatively inexpensive media that he can use, with higher revenue than he would get with the run-of-the-mill shoe service stuff. And he’s busier than he’s ever been.’

Target also created a new logo for the company – a shoe polish can with a red cross to underscore the hospital theme.

Credits

Client: Modern Shoe Hospital

Agency: Target Marketing & Communications

Creative Director: Tom Murphy

Copywriter: Jenny Smith

Art Director: Richard Nelson

Planner: Noel O’Dea