I was late to the party when the world-renowned ‘graff-art-i’ father Banksy first hit the scene. But, when I did, I went through the same stages we all did. From ‘is that legal?’ and ‘who is he?’ to ‘what’s he trying to teach us’ and ‘I wish he’d give my house a makeover’, love him or hate him, he’s making statements and hard cash.
So, it’s no surprise that people trying to get in on the action. Remember the masterpiece that was removed from a shop wall in North London? The point is, we’re used to people trying to remove Banksy’s to sell them on. And we know that brands, like Lego, will shamelessly piggyback off his success by making mock-ups. (For those of you new to Prime Time, I love to hate Lego. It’s stepped to its game in recent months and I just can’t keep up). But, we’re not necessarily used to brands adding to an existing piece of his artwork – cue Fila.
To me, Fila is an old school brand. Quite literally, the last time I wore a pair of its kicks was at school. So, I’ve already conjured up an idea that this vigilante brand has nothing to lose by slicing pairs of its trainers in half and strategically placing them at the foot of Banksy’s across London (as if to worship his approach).
But the story doesn’t end there. Here comes the science. Advertising agency GREYGermany used Google Ad Words to lead consumers, searching for answers to what this sporting statement actually meant, to shoe retailer Deichmann.
Nice touch, but I would’ve much preferred a link through to an ‘undercover’ (i.e. subtly branded Fila site) that encourages people to upload their Instagram pictures of the stunt for the chance to win a free pair of trainers.
The key is to convert your audience from interested consumers into brand ambassadors – and get them to tell you the next stage of the story. Who will they influence next? What do they want to see from the brand? What content do they need to share with their friends?
I just don’t believe a shoe shop can offer this because have to work twice as hard to a) assure people they’re involved in Fila’s PR stunt and b) keep people interested in the brand, rather than pushing them to buy.
But, I won’t be too hard on the Fila. It’s a great quick-win for the brand and, judging by the agency’s YouTube video, it has set the path open for others to hijack street art to create a new movement. But, I won’t get too excited until I hear that Banksy’s requested some more shoes for his next piece.
What do you think – is Fila running in the right direction?