How does a cowboy boot compare to a video call, a six-pack of cold beer or a duckling? Inspired by classic production demonstrations, this amusing campaign for cowboy boot brand Tecovas asks exactly these deep, hard-hitting questions. 'Versus' was created by Greatest Common Factory and is a continuation of the agency's 'walk taller' theme for the brand, which is somewhat of a challenger in the legacy brand-filled cowboy boot space. “We’re trying to update the notion of what cowboy boots are and can be,” said Rich Lesperance, CMO & GM at Tecovas. “Our customer base is extending well beyond our country roots as cowboy boots become a fashion statement among self-determining young adults and urbanites. Whoever wants to come along for the ride is welcome, and seems like quite a few people.”
To find out more about the campaign's creation and aims, LBB's Addison Capper chatted with John Trahar, strategy and creative lead for Greatest Common Factory.
LBB> What was the initial brief like from Tecovas and what were your thoughts when you saw it?
John> The brief was twofold. First, reach a fairly diverse audience that chooses cowboy boots for different reasons - from long-time devotees who peg boots to their Western identity to newer wearers who see them as bold fashion statements. Second, show them the breadth of Tecovas’ boot line-up with a simple message – these are high value, well made products. We thought we could really let the Tecovas personality out.
LBB> I imagine Tecovas is a brand with quite a staunch team of brand loyalists - repping a pair of boots like that is different to, say, a pair of Nikes. Can you speak to that? Is that the case? And how does this influence your approach to the campaign?
John> Tecovas isn't as ubiquitous as Nike, but they are well on their way to having that type of intense fanbase. People who have Western boots in their closet typically put a lot of thought into their selections. Tecovas continues to grow a following of boot believers based on its unique perspective on what western boots should be - simple, comfortable, and well-made. So we make sure to speak to a wide range of people for whom these values match. That includes people who consider themselves loyal to other legacy brands. We can lean into the challenger brand toolkit of pushing the category with a fresh perspective because this product is well made and delivers on customer satisfaction.
LBB> What inspired the product demonstration spoof idea? And why was it right for this campaign?
John> Cowboy boots are a fashion choice that goes deeper than typical footwear. They make a statement for and about the person who wears them. The product demonstration spoof is a way to validate those that have already made the Tecovas cowboy boot decision while issuing a bit of a ‘what are you waiting for?’ challenge to those who have not. It’s a serious fun approach that matches the spirit of the brand.
LBB> The spots are really reliant on the copy - what was the writing process like?
John> Tecovas has spent many years building a voice that can fill a bigger tent. The brand is a straight shooter and doesn't have to hide behind the fluff of celebrity endorsements (even though they have many notable fans). We don't have to toe the line for an industry, but can instead welcome more newcomers to the category and the brand. We were out to make the boot the hero, so we looked for truths in the details of the craftsmanship and comfort. We found these truths needed to be told, not exaggerated or gagged, so the onus was on copywriting. We arrived at an honesty that translates to the comfortable and confident moment when you put on a pair. The more we focused on the details, the more we were able to bring to life a true personality that people can actually relate to and enjoy.
LBB> There's also a fan club element to the campaign - how did you go about integrating this?
John> Tecovas has done a good job of letting people know they are ‘in’ but not in the typical ways the western category has done in decades past. Products can often be limited or exclusive, but the idea of who can wear the boots isn't that at all. To get in the fan club, all you have to do is get a pair and get comfortable. Everyone can relate to Tecovas, because we make everything about it inclusive.
LBB> What kind of reaction have you seen to the campaign?
John> The reaction has been great, both with sales and how excited people get to share photos of themselves with the boots on their feet. From special occasions like wedding day boots, or just wearing them everyday. The best part is to see the customers enjoying the heck out of their boots. And with limited products it's really amazing to see those that score a pair, and those that make sure they don't miss out the next time.
LBB> What were the trickiest components and how did you overcome them?
John> Tecovas always walks a fine line. On one edge, we’re always trying to overcome some preconceived notions that newcomers have to western boots. On the other edge, we’re demonstrating the Tecovas difference to longstanding boot aficionados. Walking Taller, our brand theme, doesn't always ‘walk the line’. We bring each group along at the same time with something interesting for all. That’s the fun part.
The in-camera interplay of the boots, their competitors, and the human who gives the awards took a bit of choreography. Our hand talent (who is also the writer) nailed the gig.
LBB> Any parting thoughts?
John> It is so refreshing working with a brand that is bold, brave and truly different at every aspect of their business. They really do deliver a unique customer experience. We recommend to anybody that will listen that they should get a pair. It isn't every day that you put on footwear that actually gives you a different perspective on things.