TikTok campaign run delivers for Athlete’s Foot

A creator-led video campaign targeting a younger adult market chalks up strong social media engagement and reach for the shoe brand

Athlete’s Foot reports its first TikTok campaign reached almost five million people in a few weeks as part of its launch of Asics’ latest Kayano 28 shoe, an important annual event for sports shoe retailer.  

Accent group creative GM marketing, Deena Colman, wanted to engage a younger audience by adding new channels. Athlete's Foot was attracted to TikTok because of its younger demographic, its participatory culture and the idea that creators’ clips are likely to be perceived as authentic by its audience. The shoe retailer’s traditional customer, mainly found on radio, is 35 to 55 years old but Athlete’s Foot wanted to reach 25 to 44-year-olds with the latest campaign work.  

The creator-led campaign kicked off with a top view ad, in which @sarahmagusara runs around, waving a pair of the latest Kayanos to tempt users to ‘chase’ her. The ad was served to everyone opening the app on launch day, with Sarah reappearing in other segments including one where she crosses a finish line. If users catch up with Sarah at the end of the ‘race’, they are invited to sign up to enter a competition to win one of 28 pairs of the shoes. 

Credit: Athletes Foot / TikTok

“Our campaign delivered; we're pretty happy with the results. The top view ad alone delivered 2.6 million impressions in one day, and TikTok has an audience that’s not necessarily found in other channels,” said Colman. 

“TikTok is a very different platform to Instagram, for example, where people might scroll quickly on their feet. Or they might look through stories, but don't have the dwell time and same engagement. People are ‘sticky’ on TikTok and give creators a lot of credibility - they seem to engage with them authentically.” 

According to founder of SEO consultancy Backlinko, Brian Dean, TikTok is the most engaging social media app, with an average session length of 10.85 minutes, double Pinterest at 5.6 minutes. Its millions of users usually revisit TikTok several times a day.

To add momentum, the Asics' launch advertising was followed by ads put together by content creator, @alexis_bree who, like the top view ad, ran around, gaining 4788 views at press time. Second creator, @zaraliang, also offered entertaining moves that caught the eyes of 276,500 viewers since the campaign's launch in late July. TikTok's creator solutions team was engaged to help manage the creators and there were also collection ads to show off Athlete’s Foot’s range.

Read more: brands on TikTok

So far,  Athlete's Foot reports results including more than 13 million impressions and reach of over 4.9 million for the whole campaign. "We created over 5000 new leads [when people entered the competition at the end of the race] and that’s essentially 5000 new customers for us to reach out and engage with,” said Colman. 

TikTok A/NZ GM global business solutions, Brett Armstrong, said the campaign leveraged TikTok's participatory culture by encouraging the community to ‘race’ segment creators across the platform’s ‘for you’ page. 

“It's clear from this partnership that Athlete's Foot really understands the power of TikTok to connect with diverse audiences in an innovative and fun way,” said Armstrong.  

Credit: Athletes Foot / TikTok

The TikTok blitz also fed extra visitors to Athlete’s Foot’s website. The brand saw a 10 per cent increase people visiting its site, one-fifth of whom were new visitors. Sessions driven by social media were up 171 per cent and accounted for 19 per cent of all sessions to the retailer’s site.

In actual stores, there was a 9 per cent increase in sales of the shoe compared with the same time after the launch of last year’s model. 

“We’d definitely look at using TikTok again for the right opportunity and would like to explore organic there, too," Colman said. "This time, we used TikTok from an paid point of view, as opposed to starting to build that community on our own TikTok page. That's in the pipeline.

"Every channel has its place but should be used in terms of needs and campaign KPIs. We do a lot of work on social media, especially with Facebook and Instagram." 

Athlete’s Foot goes to market with an always-on approach and puts much of its time and effort into paid media. This could focus on events such as back to school, the free community Park Run, or sales including Afterpay, ‘cyber’ sales or other retail events such as window campaigns focused on a new shoe such as the Kayano 28.  

For consumer awareness, Athlete’s Foot often uses radio and out-of-home media, while the windows on its 130 stores around the country also raise significant awareness. 

Credit: Athletes Foot / TikTok

“Our always-on approach targets that conversion funnel and mid-funnel as well. Another layer of digital would be included for that middle funnel and that lower funnel and conversion," Colman explained. "We've also got performance marketing spend through Google and Ad Words and Google Shopping. We've worked with radio to drive the brand message of what we're about, which is getting the right fitting shoe, so having that chugging along and having always-on social tied together keeps the brand top of mind and builds credibility."

Athlete’s Foot plans to revamp its owned social media pages, especially Instagram, to boost value for followers during lockdown. The plan includes adding content such as online fitness classes, as well as sharing inspirational fitness stories. 

Accent Group, Athlete’s Foot parent, has 19 brands more than 500 stores in Australia and New Zealand and more than 20 online platforms. 

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