Vans


When given a brand that's always been on top, where do you take it? From the outside, Vans doesn't need much help. After conducting multiple interviews with the brand's core audience, skaters, we uncovered a major shift: the once tight-knit skate culture is quickly crumbling due to a major divide. Rather than advertising to them, we had Vans show up to unify their core group under one message: United in Skate. 

1:1 Interviews with Pro-Skaters

Brand Campaign

Category Deep Dive

Competitive Analysis  

Deck flow & Narrative

Focus Group 

Secret Shopping in-store
UX Research 

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None of this was planned. In 1966, Skaters found Vans for
their grippy rubber soles & Vans found the skate community
as a place the new brand could call home.

This happy accident named Vans America’s skate shoe in the ‘70s, and the brand has only grown in popularity.
So much so, that it’s continued to to expand into multiple other areas. 

 

“We've expanded into other creative communities, whether it's music or art or fashion.
We can't reach our key goals and financial objectives by only selling skate shoes to skateboarders.”

—Vans: “We're not just a shoe company,”
Marketing Week

While Vans has spent its time focused on other communities, the very culture it helped create has begun to crumble. 

Problem: Skateboarding entered the Olympics in 2016,
marking a complete divide in skate culture.

The pre-olympic OG skaters think skateboarding has lost its edge, and the new-wave skaters think it should be taken seriously, like any other Olympic sport. 

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The two eras don't understand each other. If this tight-knit community continues to split, what will be left of skateboarding? 

Opportunity: The bond between Vans and the skate
community is authentic because it was never forced. 

Skaters don't want to be advertised to. They only want the support of a brand that will continue to champion the one thing they can all agree on: they just want to skate. 

Image by Christophe Meyer

Strategy: 

We'll demonstrate that Vans' passion for skating transcends these differing opinions about the sport, aiming to get all skaters back on board.

Campaign: United in Skate

OOH

 

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Background

When you think of Vans, you most
likely think of skateboarding. 

 

What makes Vans so great is that none of this was planned. Skaters found Vans for their rubber soles and Vans found the skate community as a place the brand could call home.

 

Dubbed America’s skate shoe in the ‘70s, the brand has only grown in popularity. So well that it’s been able to expand into multiple other areas. 

 

“We've expanded into other creative communities, whether it's music or art or fashion. We can't reach our key goals and financial objectives by only selling skate shoes to skateboarders.”

—Vans: “We're not just a shoe company,” Marketing Week

But, while Vans has been focusing on expansion, the very culture it helped create has begun to crumble.

Challenge

A culture divided. 

2016 marked the divide in skateboarding as we always knew it. 2016 is when skateboarding entered the Olympics, and since then, a new-wave of skaters has emerged. 

The pre-olympic OG skaters think skating has lost its edge, and the new-wave skaters think it should be taken seriously. 

While both groups don’t understand each other, they found one thing they could agree on: Vans needs to show up for the skating community. 

“I don’t feel too strongly about Vans.They’re making their money off of the ‘skater look’ and aren’t doing enough for skating. They’re really no different than Nike.”

- Andreas, 20, skater for Powell-Peralta

Opportunity

Vans was here first and is the only brand that can authentically get this community back on board.

We'll bridge the gap between the OG-era and the new wave of skaters by championing what they have in common: they just want to skate.