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Andy Baker & Vans Kickoff Custom Culture in Global Campaign

Creative 179 Add to collection

Artists & sneakerheads get a blank shoe-shaped canvas in Vans new global campaign

Andy Baker & Vans Kickoff Custom Culture in Global Campaign

Sometimes “standard” doesn’t cut it. That’s the idea behind Vans’ latest Global Custom Campaign. And the fine folks behind the campaign are some notoriously non-standard all-stars.

In the ring, we have: Venerable shoe brand Vans (the indomitable lions of being “Off the Wall”), legendary design studio Morning Breath (pioneers of street & skate style illustration throughout the late 90’s up till now) and Hornet director Andy Baker (an animator and storyteller with an unrivaled knack for bringing big ideas to bigger-than-life visual experiences—just take a look at his work for Seamless & MTN DEW).


What happens when all these folks converge in a room... a room in Morning Breath’s Brooklyn studio, let’s say? You get a campaign that’s the complete antithesis to “standard.”

The Backstory: Vans had worked with Andy before, so they were familiar with his style and knew he’d be the perfect fit for a brand-direct relationship. They’d already nailed down Morning Breath as the illustrators. And they had the concept of a Custom Culture competition planned out—a global contest where anyone could submit original shoe designs, and the winning artwork would be produced by Vans and generate donation money for design-focused charities.


Left to do was craft a story and promotional video that would highlight the journey of entering the competition in a clear & coherent—yet totally fun & creative—way. Queue, Andy Baker, the master of this intersection. He worked closely with Vans and Morning Breath to create an animation that illuminated the Vans brand ethos, did justice to the old-school & iconic illustrations of Morning Breath, and ultimately created a universal message that promoted artistic expression and creativity.

In Andy’s words: “This was one of the best direct client experiences we’ve ever had. Being longtime fans of Vans and Morning Breath (whose work we’ve followed for the last 10 years), the process of working together was very intuitive and aligned. The creative freedom they allowed us was great. Everyone was on the same page. We all wanted to work together.”


Of course, the best part of such an aligned relationship? The finished product. The animation was produced in Andy’s London studio over a 2 month period. It oozes a hip, trippy, psychedelic swirl of a vibe. The characters, with their hairy legs and eyeballs for heads and vinyl records for bodies, are totally weird and out-there. Layered upon this is a mix of tracks (hip-hop, reggae, and punk) that reflect some of the different subcultures and genres of the Vans universe. And underpinning all these brand pillars and the illustrative masterclass is a fun, simple story of a skateboarding sharpie with big dreams and a bigger imagination.

You might think such a wacky world of abstraction might struggle for clarity, but the marketing message is completely clear: “Submit your art on our canvas for a chance to win.” In short, this spot showcases the synergistic perks that can come from working directly with a client. There’s nothing lost in translation, and everything gained in execution.

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Hornet, Tue, 17 Sep 2019 16:44:02 GMT