For the past two years, Timberland has been on a quest to break out of its mold as simply an outdoors brand. This fall, the marketing is taking a big leap forward with a new campaign that celebrates the urban adventurer as well.
Titled “Made for the Modern Trail,” the global campaign centers around up-and-coming British musician Jamie N Commons, who will be featured in a 30-second film directed by Paul Minor that will be featured on the company’s digital platforms in late September.
The film depicts four characters exploring the city and the traditional outdoors who, at the end of the day, find themselves at an impromptu Commons concert.
“The Modern Trail represents a new kind of outdoor exploration—one that increasingly takes place in and around the city,” said Jim Davey, vice president of global marketing for Timberland. “These spontaneous adventures serve as the centerpiece of our creative this season, and will come to life through the largest, most integrated global marketing campaign in Timberland’s history. We’ll communicate and engage with consumers on multiple platforms, with digital at the core of everything we do.”
Daveys said this campaign represents a “big evolution from where we branded ourselves in 2013,” and is intended to “invite a new generation of consumers” to the brand.
Two years ago, Timberland launched “Best Then. Better Now,” a marketing push designed to embrace its heritage but attract a younger, more contemporary customer.
He said this iteration will add more “lifestyle elements,” and will include a focus on the Black Forest Collection, a more-contemporary line with black as its central color.
Davey said it took Timberland nearly a year to identify the right musician with which to partner. “Music is a natural gateway for us and we underwent a nine-month project to determine what our brand sounded like. We found it was rugged, refined, authentic, unproduced. And based on that, we looked at artists. Jamie is modern, traditional and authentic. He just released a new single and is going on tour, so it worked out well.”
Commons penned two songs exclusively for Timberland that he will unveil during the brand’s marketing kickoff at a private performance in New York City on Sept. 24 and a consumer party on Sept. 25.
Timberland is also partnering with Brooklyn Brewery’s Mash Tour for events in Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C. and Austin, Tex., and will team up with Pandora to host an event at its Philadelphia store, with Julian Casablancas of the Strokes as DJ.
Half of Timberland’s fall media spend will be invested in digital platforms such as Hypebeast, YouTube and Pandora, but the brand will also run ads in print publications including Rolling Stone, Esquire and GQ.
Davey said the new marketing thrust for Timberland, which was acquired by VF Corp. in 2011, has been “very effective in changing the perception of the brand and its bottom-line performance.”