Iconic footwear brand takes a nostalgia trip

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From selling the humble slipper to dressing cult television characters – Clarks shoes are one of Britain's most iconic brands and still operate their headquarters out of their founding address in Somerset, England.

As part of their new innovative campaign, Clarks Unboxed, award-winning British ad agency, Bartle Bogle Hegarty has created a nostalgic trip into the almost 200 year history of the brand, cleverly reconstructing imagery and producing an interesting look deep into their surprisingly colourful past.

clarks slipper

Beginning with the humble slipper, Clarks have become an internationally renowned footwear brand

The brand are behind some of the most recognisable shoe styles of the 20th Century. The Desert boot became an icon in the Jamaican rude boy culture, a Beatnik staple and a Retro mod classic; while their Wallabee style was popular among African American rappers from Slick Rick to Method Man and most notably, Ghostface Killah.

More recently the Wallabee was the essential footwear of high school chemistry teacher turned drug dealer, Walter White in cult TV series Breaking Bad.

Bartle Bogle Hegarty were afforded the challenge to bring the brands' rich, yet largely forgotten story back into the public eye.

A brand new look

clarks unboxed 3

Clarks Unboxed tracks the 200 year history of the iconic brand, and the favourite styles that made Clarks what they are today

"The original brief was to use stories from nearly two hundred years of
Clarks history to drive awareness among consumers who don't know Clarks and reappraisal among those who do," says Copywriter, Richard Cable.

"We tried to create something unique with Clarks Unboxed. One of the best things about setting out to push boundaries is that you learn new things all the time."

Working closely with the brand, the team feel the end result is a truly collaborative effort between designers and brand.

clarks unboxed 1940s

The Clarks brand saw extensive expansion in the post war years, when they designed shoes that would go on to shape and define their brand

"We wanted to bring these stories to life with a new kind of storytelling – a fresh way of weaving together words, images and sound to create something immersive and cinematic without burying the content in video."

"Nothing was 'just for show' – everything working as hard as it possibly can – from the style of the writing, to the art direction to the sound design, right down to the way it is coded. No one part works without the other."

clarks unboxed 4

BBH took an innovative storytelling approach to the project, using extensive research to bring the story of Clarks shoes to life

Art Director, Vinny Olimpio reveals, "We wanted each story to look and behave differently, each with its own personality, its own art direction derived from the narrative itself.

"We researched tens of thousands of images, retouching and composing them to revive these completely lost moments in time, then built in movement – transitions, parallax, smoothness, visual intrigue, timing – to deliver the final vision."

The team see Unboxed as defining the way we should think about Clarks, "whether you're familiar with the brand or not. Clarks have always done things their own way. They've always been uncompromising and unconventional. They have always stuck by their values," adds Richard.

Watch the Making Of

Words: Alice Pattillo

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