The Drum magazine's Creative Director's Choice is a chance for creative directors to highlight some work outside their own that's making a difference. In a recent feature, Ryan takes a shine to Wolf & Shepherd, a company who's social media pixel game is totally point. Read the article here if you missed it:
I like shoes, I always have. When I was a kid, I inherited a bunch of unique items from my grandfather, one of which was a pair of size 11 elephant skin oxfords. He must have bought them in the 50s, likely in a country where that kind of thing was not yet frowned upon. I remember sporting them to a shoe store, where the salesmen gathered around, staring in awe and wondering how this 11-year-old kid had a pair of handmade elephant skin oxfords. Unfortunately, I hit puberty and grew out of the oxfords, but not my love of shoes.
These days my Instagram feed is 30% dogs, 20% Jiu Jitsu moves and 50% men’s dress shoes. Their pixel game is on point, and none more so than Wolf & Shepherd. I first noticed the company because their shoes looked interesting, and then realized their content had a more polished, professional look and feel than most grassroots Instagram brands. They were having fun with it.
In the digital world, it's easy to default to the basics of customer acquisition, but here was a brand putting in the legwork to tell a story. Walking the walk, not just ad targeting. My curiosity led me to discover that Wolf & Shepherd was founded by Justin Schneider, a footwear designer who cut his teeth at Adidas, Reebok, and New Balance. He also was a decathlete in college. He designed a ridiculous amount of technology, usually reserved for athletic shoes, into these dress shoes. To prove his claim that they're an obscenely comfortable dress shoe, they did the most interesting campaign I've seen in, or out of, the category lately, and proved their durability by competing with them in the Atlanta Half Marathon. They won, setting a world record for marathon time in dress shoes, and like good marketers, they've been exploiting the content in their marketing ever since. It's a little old school, a little new school, and totally fun advertising. (Also, if they're reading this, I'm a size 12.)