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Clarks brings history into the future with WhatsApp campaign

Footwear manufacturer and retailer Clarks is putting a new spin on mobile marketing with an interactive storytelling event through messaging application WhatsApp to drum up sales of its Desert Boot.

The Desert Boot has been a staple in cultural events throughout history and Clark is leveraging that to bring it into the mobile and digital world. WhatsApp users will live-chat with different characters related to the history of the boot and receive images, videos, music and messages that create a hands-on documentary.

“Clarks’ new campaign on WhatsApp for its Desert boot offers up a character-focused, multimedia retrospective into the boot’s history that taps into the millennial approach to consumerism,” said Stacy Debroff, founder/CEO of Influence Central, Boston.

The campaign, named Rats to Rudeboys, will also include video trailers on YouTube spread across all social media channels promoting the live-chat events.

Running with sales
WhatsApp, now owned by Facebook, is a mobile messaging app that connects users from all carriers and devices. The platform is especially helpful with international messaging, permitting users from different countries to connect with little hassle and cost.

The Rats to Rudeboys campaign is a start for Clarks to foray into sales through messaging.

This playful interactive event will attract consumers to connect with Clarks through WhatsApp, allowing it to reach consumers in the future with promotions.

Clarks will use data received from the live chats to further the reach of current and future campaigns. The retailer will pay attention to the location of the users because the app is worldwide.

Campaigning with characters 
WhatsApp users who engage in the Rats to Rudeboys campaign will speak to three non-fictional characters available on different days to chat, each with an importance in the Desert Boot history.

Each character stands for a sub-culture in history and will facilitate telling the story of Nathan Clark popularizing the boot.

The first character, Steve Barrow, symbolizes the British modernist culture of the 1960s. He is known for sporting the Desert Boot with tweed suits.

Bruno Barbey is famous for photographing student protests during the late 1960s, many of which featured protestors wearing the boot.

The final figure, Stitch, is a known Reggae icon from the 1970s, representing the Rudeboy name of the campaign and was often seen displaying the Desert boot.

Interactive marketing is a technique that brings consumers much closer to the brand. Live chat marketing also enables the collection of data.

For example, the Insidious horror film franchise used an interactive chat letting fans engage with teenage heroine Quinn Brenner on the Kik application to drive excitement around the recently released trailer for the third installment (see more).

Toyota also turned to interactive hashtags and enabled attendees at this year’s SXSW to use their smartphones to create Twitter-generated art at a live installation featuring the 2015 Corolla (see more).

Live chats resonate with the millennials, so obviously the target of Clarks’ latest WhatsApp campaign.

 “We recently fielded a study on marketing to millennials, demonstrating that this cohort views products unlike any other generation, preferring to think of them as experiences, giving each purchase a weight and a story,” Ms. DeBroff said.
“Using WhatsApp for this campaign fits into millennials’ natural penchant for crowdsourcing and peer-to-peer networks,” she said.
Final Take
Brielle Jaekel is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer, New York