Background

Dunlop Volleys are quintessentially Australian – the iconic canvas shoe enjoys widespread appeal: indie kids and middle-aged parents alike all associate with the grassroots authentic Volley spirit. 

Our first ‘Exceptionally Average’ campaign, which saw Jerry Phillips make interesting tunes using only his hands, was well-received and consumer research enabled us to understand that our advertising had to be different, quirky and, more importantly, stay true to the ‘Exceptionally Average’ theme. We endeavoured to build sales and increase momentum of the current canvas shoe trend we were (and still are) experiencing in the Australian market.

Campaign: ‘Internationally Average’
Client: Dunlop Volleys
Agency: Marilyn & Sons

Objectives

Volleys are an iconic part of the Australian landscape, yet, like many of our great cultural institutions, their charms are largely unknown beyond these shores. There is barely a foot in this country that hasn’t sported a Volley at some point in time, but to the world at large they are a complete mystery.

So in the spirit of cultural exchange, it was felt that the time was right for the Volley to reveal itself to the world. It was time for the Volley to live up to its true name: the Volley International.

Focus groups articulated that the core identity, attitude and appeal of Volley centres on anti-effort, anti-fashion/commercialism, youth culture resonance and the ‘Exceptionally Average’ positioning theme encapsulates the best of Volley. Therefore, in the spirit of the quirky humour and delivering the unexpected synonymous with the Volley brand, this campaign was born.

Strategy

The ‘Internationally Average’ campaign for Dunlop Volleys saw the well-known canvas shoe take flight (literally), crossing borders both geographical and cultural, and returning to us in a way that we had never imagined.

A brief was sent out to advertising agencies across the world, to over 60 countries across four continents. We wanted to gauge what the world thought about our union of rubber and canvas that Australians know so well?

The task for the international agencies was simple: pitch for an idea that would sell Volleys to their own countrymen. The agencies were given free rein, with the only restriction being budgetary – we believe that a simple, straightforward shoe should be promoted through a simple, straightforward advertisement.

The ideas flowed thick and fast and, after much consternation and debate, they were whittled down to concepts from five countries: Pakistan, Russia, Cambodia, Azerbaijan and Kenya, a group of countries not known internationally for their advertising panache, but nevertheless they proved to be fertile breeding grounds of strange and wondrous takes on the humble Volley.

So production began and the respective agencies leaped into action. There were ostrich farms in far flung provinces, karaoke songs written by hip hop artists, midget merchants, animals with Volleys on their feet, as well as the Eastern European equivalent of Karl Stefanovic dancing on a mountaintop. The responses were as varied as they were bizarre. Yet they were, in their own unique and regionally specific way, an honest interpretation of what we wanted to display Volleys as – a universal shoe.

One piece of the puzzle was left out deliberately: the Australian perspective. Instead of relying on an advertising agency, a more fitting response was to let the Australian people create their own. That’s why a competition was created alongside the campaign, so that the public had a chance to make the ad they felt best communicates what Volleys mean to them.

Execution

The campaign spanned a five-week period and the ads featured on subscription TV, free to air and online. The Volley website also featured an m-site dedicated to ‘Internationally Average’ with a rotating globe of the world showcasing the five TVCs. It also promoted the competition in which consumers had the opportunity to write, direct, film and submit their own 30-second ‘Volley Australia’ commercial.

The online strategy was to utilise sites that reach the largest percentage of the target audience via You Tube, Facebook and Platform 9. Furthermore, we were aiming to ensure that the TVC was in front of niche environments with which Volley wanted to associate itself- the Thousands, Lifelounge and Google content networks. We encouraged a viral element of the TVC via a database (the TVC was sent to the target audience via the Pop Republic database).

Results

The ‘Internationally Average’ campaign proved to be very successful with Volley website traffic spiking by over 200 percent during the campaign period and YouTube hits escalating into the tens of thousands (the Cambodia TVC and ‘making of’ video were among the most popular posts with over 10,000 hits alone). In addition to this, much commentary and feedback was fuelled and captured. 

The competition generated submissions of over 20 produced TV spots by young Australians as part of the ‘Make Your Own Volley TVC’ promotion. We received a tremendous portfolio of entrants – from a 13-year-old brother and sister team to serious amateur directors. The decision was difficult, but in the end an enthusiastic budding filmmaker was given the big prize – an international holiday worth $15,000 as well as international exposure through the campaign website. For the campaign’s duration, all the competition details were up on the website, along with outtakes and behind-the-scenes footage etc.