Vans has been an iconic brand in the sneaker industry for more than half a century. Launching in 1966, the brand had a modest start, with only a few designs in a few colours. In time, Vans found its footing within the skating and surfing communities and began working with professionals within the sport and sponsoring numerous music and skating events.
HOW VANS FOUND THEIR FOOTING
Vans was established in 1966, as a result of an idea by Paul Van Doren and his family to simply manufacture shoes and sell them to the public.
During the mid-seventies skateboarders from South California started wearing Vans as their shoe of choice. At the time skateboarding community was seen as renegade and not worthy consumers as there were no shoe manufacturers that catered to their specific needs. Vans was the first shoe manufacturer to go against the status-quo and accept the skateboarders as customers. In fact, Vans was the first company to sponsors professional skateboarders- and started catering to their unique wants.
Vans understood that skaters wanted shoes that were unique and built for purpose and therefore started collaborating with customers in the custom shoe industry after receiving a great number of requests for custom-made shoes.
The skateboarding community embraced the brand and acted as a catalyst for success of the company. Today Vans is one of the most well-recognised brands in the extreme sporting community.
MORE THAN A BRAND- A WAY OF LIFE
The Vans “Off the Wall” slogan was first used when they partnered with professional skateboarders Tony Alva and Stacey Peralta to create a customised line of shoes that were gilt-edge for skateboarders. Fast-forward to the present, and now the term “Off the Wall” is a logo used on all Vans products.
This slogan describes their target market perfectly. A young exhilarating group of individuals who live their lives parallel to the norms of society.
In 2014 Vans launched a global campaign which they promoted as #livingoffthewall. The main aim of the campaign was not to generate sales or promote a new product line, but instead develop the brand identity for Vans. Vans was trying to encourage self-expression among their consumers and develop a sassy brand image through the campaign. A variety of promotional tools were used in the Living off the wall campaign. Vans used still images, mini-documentaries, competitions and set-up a website where consumers could find all necessary information on the campaign and watch the various brand related documentaries (which was the main tool of the campaign). Vans also encouraged their fans to make home-videos, where they asked their fans to tell the world how they are #livingoffthewall, these fan-made documentaries can also be found the campaign website.
Vans also use endorsements and sponsorships as a form of promotion. Vans have sponsored sporting events such as the X-Games and Music Festivals such as the Warped Tour. Vans have professional athletes on their payroll such as Kyle Walker because of sponsorship deals and product endorsements through these athletes.
In early 2016, a video of a boy named Daniel walking around showing off his outfits went viral, which coined the now famous terms “Damn Daniel!” and “back at it again with the white Vans”. The craze went global and provided Vans with some positive exposure. The popularity of the video went as far as to land Daniel and his friend Josh on The Ellen DeGeneres Show where he received a lifetime supply of white Vans!