Shotopop Gets Creative with Clarks' Colorful History
Clarks’ latest ad campaign is not what you would expect from a shoe company that has been around for almost two hundred years. The dynamic imagery created by Shotopop, in partnership with McFaul + Day, is the result of unprecedented exploration and research on the other side of an open creative relationship between the creative group and the shoe company. “They wanted to do a kind of unconventional visual for these three iconic shoes,” explains Casper Franken of Shotopop. “There was almost no brief at all, they wanted to kind of make something that’s physical and they wanted to show the history of the shoes in doing this.”
The Shotopop team headed to the Clarks headquarters and spent a significant amount of time with the Clarks archivists to learn everything they could about the brand’s history, anything that would help them create some amazing visuals. “We found out some really interesting things that we didn’t know about the shoes, where they came from, the history, the people that made them, what influenced and inspired them,” Casper explains. “We took this information back with us and built a world around each shoe that was influenced by the history and the social context of that shoe.” They used every tiny bit of information to inform the final imagery that was a combination of paper craft and photography.
Casper was excited to share with us some of the things he learned that he and the Shotopop team incorporated into the final compositions. One of the most surprising things they learned was about the history of the Wallabee and how it found some unexpected support in a market that Clarks didn’t target at first. “When the shoes came out not much happened until sometime in the 1980s. The New York hip hop scene started wearing the shoes and they caught on incredibly fast,” says Casper. “It just became a hip hop icon.” That’s why you’ll see iconography of both New York and hip hop in the image for the Wallabee, as well as some Native American inspiration that helped to inspire the shoe in the first place.
Each image contains strange little additions that Casper says not everyone is going to understand but they’re all rooted in Clarks’ history. One of the more seemingly eclectic images is the Desert Boot that includes, among other things, a sand castle, a car’s gas pedal, and a key. But, as Casper explains, this is all a part of the shoes’ history. “Nathan Clark, a lover of fast cars, was kind of the crazy brother who invented the Desert Boot and he had this weird thing where he always stashed things away wherever he went,” says Casper. “He was a world traveler, and he had little boxes in every country, in every place of the world where he would go. That’s why we put a little key in the pedal there.”
The exploration that Clarks afforded Shotopop made this project uniquely satisfying for the team. It brought them an exceptional and rich level of creative fulfillment. “It’s rare to have a project that’s so open where you can do so much research and kind of get to know the brand so well, especially when it’s a brand like Clarks that has such a colorful history,” says Casper. “It was a lot of fun to make and to explore.” The eclectic nature of each image is what’s so compelling about them, ever more compelling to know its all based on the true history of the historic brand.