#Girlsplain by Vans:
Giving female skaters the recognition they deserve.
Vans has been the classic skate shoe since 1966. For over five decades, Vans shoes have represented the quintessential soles for skaters of all ages, sex, and provenience, conquering both amateur skaters and pros in skateparks all over the world.
As the world of skating has evolved, so has Vans' offering - with an expanded product line covering multiple sides, including their latest "Vans Pro Classic" line, aimed at their core target: skaters. For this project we immersed ourselves in the world of skating and young pro skaters.
Reframing the business challenge
Vans released a new product line: the "Vans Pro Classic" with a classic line and increased durability features aimed at pro skaters. Naturally, their original ask was to find a way how to sell this new product to their core audience.
However, after taking in that ask, we found that wasn't the right question to ask - a much deeper challenge for the brand was to show how supportive the new shoe is to pro skaters.
How do we get pro skaters to be supported by Vans?
As we immersed in research to find out more about Vans' target audience consisting of serious or pro-wannabe skaters, one statistic in particular seemed to be particularly important: 25% of serious skaters are female – that's one out of four skaters. Despite that, skating is still a male-dominated culture, where attitudes are can often be patronizing and 'dude-centric'.
Empathizing with female skaters
We started having conversation with both make and female skaters to verify our assumption. We found out that not only females skaters feel under-represented, they are often not taken seriously by their male counterparts, and even if their skill is superior, they often fall victim of 'mansplaining' from skater dudes.
"I wish guys would
judge me for how I skate, not how I look"
Female pro skaters are just as good as their male counterparts, but they're not taken as seriously.
After understanding the scene of young pro-aspiring skaters and empathizing with underrepresented female skaters, we reached to the conclusion that "pro" skating should't be about male or female –it should be about skating itself. Therefore, since Vans wants to stand by pro-skaters -it should acknowledge that the "Pro" attribute should include girls. It should always be about how you skate, not what's between your legs.
Vans recognizes the talent of female skaters and supports them.
What better way for a new shoe with increased support, than supporting female pro skaters by flipping the narrative between them and male skaters.
#Girlsplain by Vans is a campaign to get male skaters up to speed with the fact that girls can actually skate. Afterall, boards have evolved, tricks have evolved, even Vans have evolved, so why haven’t skaters? with the updated cushioning and durability of the Vans Pro classic, now is the time for Vans to show that not only the shoe is updated, but so are the skaters.
Some things in skate culture don’t change– skaters love stickers, and they love to stick them everywhere. Stickers are what unite them in the underground. So to get the message out, we’ll slap girlsplain stickers at skater hangouts all around the city. Digital extensions for the campaign would include customized instagram stickers and as an online channel
Implementing the campaign
We made a case study video to highlight how the campaign would roll out.
An increase in brand mentions thanks to the campaign would lead to conversions through the online store channel for Vans