It’s good timing with the tide having turned to a focus on Nineties brands and logos. K-Swiss hopes to ride that wave banking on nostalgia along with new retail partners, such as Journeys, to put the brand in front of customers in Generation Z and those skewing on the younger end of the Millennial cohort.
“This is definitely about bringing new people into the brand. We saw some of our biggest times in the Nineties. We definitely know a lot of people from that era know K-Swiss, but when it comes to younger people they don’t know,” said Patrick Buchanan, K-Swiss Global Brands global marketing director. “I think that we’re definitely using these new partnerships with accounts like Footaction and Shoe Palace and Journeys to be able to introduce K-Swiss to customers and it’s the same strategy with DNCE.”
The members of DNCE were shot in retro tennis apparel along with K-Swiss classic styles plus new designs expected to become available for sale at a later date. The campaign will be mostly digital in addition to in-store marketing.
“Everything retro is making a comeback and I felt like it was really interesting for DNCE to be taking on this retro tennis vibe,” Buchanan said. “They’re a band that has a lot of energy and every member brings a unique perspective. That’s the beauty of working with several people. We’re able to really talk to that younger customer in a way that we hadn’t before.”
The members of DNCE also designed their own K-Swiss shoe, with the designs slated for release some time in the first quarter.
For K-Swiss, there’s been plenty of activity in more recent months as the company’s looked to pivot to what Buchanan called K-Swiss 2.0. Last year former K-Swiss Global Brands chief marketing officer Barney Waters was made president of the K-Swiss brand. In February, the company moved from Westlake Village to downtown Los Angeles and since then has been refining its focus and positioning in the market, Buchanan said.
“We have this entrepreneur positioning,” Buchanan said. “Brands like Nike and Under Armour are [geared toward] sports and Puma and Adidas they have all the celebrities [in marketing] and so when it comes to K-Swiss we’re really doubling down with entrepreneurs and young go-getters.”
A separate campaign launching this month will feature four entrepreneurs in their 20s and early 30s. The point, Buchanan explained, is again to focus on the Millennial and Generation Z customers.
“When I was growing up or when my parents were growing, kids dreamed of being basketball players or celebrities,” he said. “But the new generation, they’re looking to be business owners and to be the boss and to create something of their own.”