Cannes Lions

Create Now, Create Next

CONVERSE, Boston / CONVERSE / 2023

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Overview

Background

Converse is a global brand embraced by many musicians, artists, athletes, dreamers, and thinkers. While Converse has a longstanding commitment to elevating and celebrating consumer individuality and creativity, it had not launched an integrated ad campaign in over four years. This presented an opportunity to generate greater brand awareness and affinity. Converse sought to reconnect and engage a new cohort of Gen Z fans, reinvigorating excitement and awareness of the brand. To inspire them, they wanted to create a campaign that was a creative expression of all the things they love: music, art, fashion, basketball, and skateboarding. Converse wanted its consumers to see themselves in the brand. For this generation, being able to “come as you are” is crucial, so making them feel truly seen, no matter their background, was top priority.

Idea

To reconnect Converse with its global audience, we created “Create Now. Create Next.”, a global campaign that put Converse at the intersection of influence and culture led by global creators. The anthem was broken into 20, 6-second films that lived on Instagram and TikTok. When our audience stitched them together, each combination became a unique and original visual anthem. To make each anthem stand on its own creative turf, we invited 20 creators from 18 different countries such as Ghana, North Korea, and Australia to participate. We opened our platform to them and asked each to produce 6-seconds of creativity and inspiration to serve as our visuals. We then took our creators from social media to the streets, employing bus wraps, and out-of-home in order to remix and fuse global and creative discovery.

Strategy

Converse sought to push brand affinity based on 3 main insights:

Mass media mismatch: Mass media lacks full representation of Gen Z’s creative space and interest. 63% of all Gen Zers say it’s more important to express individual identity than to reflect a community, and 53% of men 18-24 say they feel like they don’t belong to a singular country or culture.

Cultural discovery and algorithms don’t always get along: Social algorithms dictate the pace of creative discovery, limiting discovery of emerging talent and subcultures.

Send us your location: Gen Z must be met where they are to feel seen and be inspired: through short, snackable videos.

We landed on Converse’s first-of-its-kind “Create Now. Create Next.” – a co-created platform campaign led by 20 diverse creatives from 18 cities to share their creativity through a series of 20, 6-second films, which we blended into a long-form brand anthem from Converse.

Execution

Tease & Amplify: During the first week of October 2022, we began personalizing the effort by upfronting our creators using teaser stills and :6 second shorts published in co-collaboration mode on social platforms like Instagram and TikTok.

Fully Discover: After the first week, we launched the full commercial tying in all talent leads followed by physical and digital out-of-home and paid media, which garnered earned press.

Sustain: Transit ads were featured across cities like London, Los Angeles, Berlin, and Cape Town. The campaign was purposefully not promoted via TVCs, but ran on streaming partners like Hulu, leveraging the insight that Gen Z and Converse brand fans primarily consume their media via digital platforms vs. traditional television. The Create Now, Create Next campaign kicked off a 6-month journey of local activations across the globe – from Paris, to Brazil, to Shanghai – inviting consumers to participate and “Create Next” with Converse.

Outcome

The “Create Now. Create Next.” campaign exceeded strategic advertisement placement targets:

Reach: There were over 1.7b + impressions worldwide, and the long-form video has been viewed 2.5MM + times on YouTube.

Awareness: Notably, the campaign lifted both aided and unaided awareness by +5pp (vs. pre-campaign as measured by Toluna Report),

Brand Affinity: ‘Favorite Brand’ increased +3pp over the same period with active engagement behind creators through comments and re-shares. 6-in-10 consumers recalled seeing or hearing something about Converse a month after the campaign launch, evoking continuous positive sentiment.

Cultural Impact: The intersectionalities of many subcultures featured in the content, particularly over indexing on Usha Jey and Lil Cherry, resonated with youths across the globe. In paid media, top and emerging talent both drove success, proving discovery as well as garnering 200+ earned media stories worldwide, spanning coverage in AdAge, USA Today, HYPEBEAST, Vibe, and more.

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