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Shoes make the person

If you are Kiwi Shoe Polish, developing great communication would seem like a challenge. Shoe polish appears to be pretty close to a commodity category, a decidedly unglamorous category, and Kiwi -- at least in the US -- is an old, iconic brand recognized by nearly everyone.

So where do you take that creatively?

Last year Kiwi introduced a print and social campaign featuring the shoes of famous people, with copy that brings those famous characters to life and illustrating their “first steps” to greatness. The ads include the shoes of Muhammad Ali, Amelia Earhart, Abraham Lincoln, Florence Nightingale, Vince Lombardi, and Ernest Hemingway.

I may be overthinking this, but when I saw this I asked myself, what is the connection to Kiwi, specifically?  What is the big insight? I am hypothesizing that the ads are playing off the old maxim, “Shoes make the man” (Or woman). Kiwi makes your shoes look great, which reflects on you. Therefore you shoes are kind of an extension of the wearer.

(Kiwi is no stranger to attention-grabbing advertising. Its “Portraits Completed” campaign was a winner at Cannes in 2017.)