Shoe-ing in a new beau - sexist or genius?
Malaysia - In a classic example of life imitating art, a local shoe brand, Shoes Shoes Shoes, has turned the tale of Cinderella into reality in its latest marketing campaign.
Shoes Shoes Shoes has collaborated with dating company Lunch Actually in coming up with a promotional campaign, aimed at matching single women with a man with every purchase of a pair of shoes.
Named The Shoe Dating Project, the campaign enlists men who are interested in finding a date and requires them to pledge a minimum of 10% discount on the shoes of their choice which will have a "Date Included" tag on it.
Female shoppers who chooses the pair of shoes that come with the tag will get a 10% discount and a date with the guy who had initially picked out the same pair.
Upon purchasing the shoes, she would have to leave her details at the outlet and Lunch Actually will call her for further arrangements, pairing her personality as reflected by her shoe choice with the secret man behind the shoe.
Commenting on its latest project, YiuLin Ung, owner of Shoes, Shoes, Shoes, said that she was excited to be able to reach out to her bachelorette customers in a fun way, since traditional dating rituals have become mundane.
Speaking on her collaboration, Violet Lim, owner of Lunch Actually, said that their involvement in the campaign would potentially open a wider door for her members.
"What intrigues me is that this campaign is a new and exciting way of connecting potential partners together. I can see how my business fits perfectly with Shoes, Shoes, Shoes," said Lim.
In line with promoting the initiative, the company worked together with female-centric station Capital FM, where the station's three single DJs April Kuan, Liang and Priscillia Seelan each tried out the promotion.
Kuan told A+M that during her date, she saw a spike in the number of callers who phoned in during her date to ask him questions. She added that it was a good initiative and that after their date, she had added him on twitter and have made plans to meet up again.
The campaign was picked up by online news portal The Huffington Post, which highlighted that the campaign had an element of sexism.
According to a comment on Shoes Shoes Shoes' Facebook site: "Can you imagine if it was the other way round? When a man bought shoes, he'd get a woman for a date as well? We'd all be screaming blue murder at the sexism. Why do we countenance this unethical marketing gimmick? For shame."
Shoes Shoes Shoes responded to the comment by saying: "Yes, you're right. Women would and should be screaming murder if it was the other way round. That's why shoe dating isn't the other way round. :) Anyway, thanks for the feedback, peeps! A good weekend to all!"
We asked some local experts to give their take on the campaign and an overwhelming majority agree it was a 'brilliant' campaign.
"First of all, I think it is interesting. Sexist or not, I think people just need to chill out sometimes and just celebrate some fun. Often times we get so politically correct and that drowns creativity.
This is certainly a breath of fresh air and I truly hope that it'll take off. It certainly has the ingredients of a good marketing approach - fun, bold, controversial and emotional." said Alex Ooi, director of reputation management and digital, Roots Asia Pacific.
To Freda Kwok, lead consultant at Blugrapes in Malaysia, the campaign was a success as it managed to raise the profile of both Shoes, Shoes, Shoes and Lunch Actually.
"The companies have managed to fulfil two objectives which surround the typical problems plagued by a traditional arrangement such as a dating agency - that it's old fashion and that people only turn to it as a last resort.
By injecting the fun back into it and adopting a radically different approach, it has helped shaved the stigma somewhat, as users have the fun element as a reason to take part."
The Shoe Dating project kicked off this month and will be running for two months. The company said that based on its response it will consider extending it.
The idea was conceptualised by Ogilvy Action KL.
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- Ogilvy and Mather
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