Cannes Lions

Labor Day On


Case Film
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Presentation Image






For over 115 years, Red Wing Shoes has been known for creating high-quality work boots designed to support the skilled workers of America. We wanted to honor this legacy with a brand action on Labor Day that celebrated these workers. There was just one problem: due to the pandemic, America was facing the highest unemployment rate in its history. So, while Labor Day is usually marked with discounts, sales, and a day-off work, we knew this year our workforce needed more than a sale on boots.


In 2020, the pandemic had decimated our workforce. So when Labor Day rolled around, a public holiday intended to celebrate the American workers, it was clear they needed more than the usual holiday sales. They needed jobs. That's how the #LaborDayOn initiative was born. Instead of promoting discounts on work-boots, we used Red Wing’s retail stores, customer service line, website, social and film to promote every open position we had, setting the stage for what would spark a movement spanning across every industry. With over 220 brands joining the initiative, #LaborDayOn set social media on fire, helping connect unemployed Americans to jobs nationwide. Like that, a small-town boot brand brought Labor Day back to its roots, turning a day off into a day that took on the highest unemployment rate since the Great Depression and uplifted workers in cities big and small.


To address the toll the pandemic had taken on our workforce, Red Wing took a public holiday traditionally known for promotions, and instead used their reach on Labor Day to promote jobs for the 25 million unemployed. Prior to Labor Day, we recruited a small amount of brands to join the initiative, asking them to use their owned social channels to post job listings and thereby drive reach and prompt action (via applications) in-feed. For businesses getting involved day-of, our campaign site hosted downloadable social templates to grow organic participation. We partnered with Twitter for additional reach, allowing audiences to apply for jobs linked in each post, or share to their followers with the #LaborDayOn hashtag to amplify the message. To activate in local communities, we tapped into Red Wing’s 525 retail stores for promotion and transformed them into local job fairs across the country.


We launched the #LaborDayOn initiative with an interactive film designed to help Americans get hired. The first of its kind, the film featured real, open positions from Red Wing Shoe Company, allowing viewers to apply to any job featured in the film with a simple click. Then, we converted over 525 of Red Wing’s retail stores nationwide into job centers where people could “shop” for local positions. We even turned their 1-800 customer service line into a national job search hotline. But we knew that Red Wing jobs alone couldn’t help a staggering 25 million unemployed people. So we took out a full-page ad in The New York Times, calling on others to join us in posting their open positions using #LaborDayOn. When Labor Day hit, 220 brands rallied by our side, turning social feeds across the country into national job boards that helped connect millions of Americans to jobs.


The campaign garnered 689M PR and earned-media impressions, valued at $7.6B in paid media:

Organically featured in 100+ publications, including The New York Times, USA Today and Forbes

80% of headlines credited Red Wing for starting #LaborDayOn

Red Wing achieved another 133M social impressions day-of, and #LaborDayOn trended nationwide with shout-outs from celebrities like Leah Remini and the governor of Minnesota.

With 826MM total media impressions and over 220 partner brands—including Burger King, Vice, New Balance and UPS—the campaign was far reaching and impactful:

Almost 200K visitors to Red Wing stores & webpages

35% more sales for Red Wing, YoY

29% more applications for open jobs at Red Wing, YoY

600% increase in job applications, YoY, for some partner brands

71% more daily call volume to the Red Wing customer service hotline

On a holiday known for “just another sale,” Red Wing instead brought hope to American workers.

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