One thing we didn’t expect from this summer was to be invited by the Vice President of Marketing Converse Europe, for a week-long mentorship with the brand. And we would have never believed, at the start of the school semester, we would be sitting around the table with the Converse team, discussing the communication strategy for the next quarter. Not only that but we would be invited as special guests to pitch our very own ideas for the upcoming campaign.
By Roxanne van Zanden and Kathelijn Samuels
Outside of the Converse headquarters in London.
We might not have expected this dream opportunity but we both felt we were suitably prepared. At the start of our specialization, we deep-dived into the semester by entering the D&AD new blood awards. These awards give you the chance to show to the creative industries what you and/or your group are capable of. Big brands such as Adidas or organisations like the WWF share a brief with a real business challenge. Winning a yellow pencil award truly marks you out as one of the best. It can be the start of your future.
Exploring the origin of the Chuck.
The D&AD awards were the perfect try-out for what came further down the road of our specialization, working with actual fashion brand industry briefs. The class was divided by brief and our own challenge was; “to help reconnect the teen female in London to the Chuck Taylor, using the key communication message all the stories are true” with a mobile-first campaign. After ten weeks of brainstorming, creative thinking, designing, and editing we were finally ready with a solution. All six groups working on the Converse brief visited the HQ in July to pitch to an illustrious panel of Converse Europe team members – the VP of Marketing Adrian Fenech, Brand Director Claudia Calori and Brand Design Lead Danicha Leliveld. It was an amazing opportunity to get some very valuable feedback from professionals in the actual working field.
Since our campaign idea was chosen as the best solution, the VP of Marketing invited us for a week mentorship in the holidays and to share our idea to the rest of the team. This purpose of this week was to learn how a creative idea would move forward from the pitch stage. We met with every member of the Marketing team including meetings with the Head of Culture and Entertainment – Rens van Mackelenbergh, who’s in charge of influencers. As well as other inspiring team members working in communications and retail to learn how the different functions work together in order to release a campaign in the market.
We had to pitch again, this time to the whole Converse brand/marketing team and it was just as nerve-wracking the second time around to convince the professionals of our idea. Afterwards, we had some personal one-to-one meetings with them and received feedback from different perspectives on our concept. Since we had made a 3-minute video we were able to show our research and thoughts in a short amount of time. With every member being an expert in a different field, the feedback was diverse and on all the angles of what you actually need to think of while creating a real-life campaign for a brand.
Insights into the pitch of the campaign idea.
After the meetings, we also got the chance to attend the monthly marketing “stand –up” meeting. It was very inspiring to see the VP of Marketing explaining all the stories and strategies behind the different campaigns and to learn how the brand plans all the communication stages throughout the quarter. What was really amazing to hear in this presentation was the fact that Converse and our own idea were so aligned. So, we might actually see some of our work come to life!
And, last but not least… We got seated by the Head of Culture and Entertainment – which means that we actually got treated as if we were some very important influencers ourselves, including access to the storage room to find us some clothes and our own Chucks!