Dr Martens ‘Tough as You’: This rebellion isn’t extinct

DMsRemember the days when pulling on a pair of Doc Marten boots could raise the hackles of everyone from soul boys to Teddy boys and local councillors to vicars? If you so, you’re older than you look. These days everyone from top models to sports stars and local councillors to trendy vicars are wearing the original AirWair.

But the brand still prides itself on its renegade heritage and the latest iteration of its “Tough as You” ad campaign for spring and summer 2020 is designed to ensure Dr Martens’ rebel yell is as loud as ever.

Rooted in the understanding that – apparently – putting on a pair of DMs makes the wearer feel empowered, the campaign centres around four contributors – grime punk musician Bob Vylan, body-positive activist Lotte Van Eijk, rock band Naked Giants, and model Avie Acosta.

Each contributor was selected to represent the brand because of the powerful message of resilience they spread every day, the company says.

The campaign, created by We Are Social with production from We Are Social Studios, launches with a one-minute film featuring all four contributors. The film is now live on Dr Martens’ global social channels and will be hosted on drmartens.com, along with additional information about each contributor.

To help bring Dr Martens’ consumers to the forefront of the campaign, each digital element will contain a call-to-action posing the question “What does tough mean to you?”, encouraging the DM community to share their own interpretation of toughness in 2020.

Over the next few months, the film will be supported by digital display and out-of-home advertising, as well as an always-on content strategy for social, featuring cut down film assets of the individual contributors’ stories.

Tough as You aims to build the brand’s footprint in both new and existing audiences – specifically Gen Z, while educating people about Dr Martens’ rich heritage.

Dr Martens global marketing director Andrea Moore explained: “Looking back on six decades of Dr Martens and youth culture, we identified four stories which are manifesting themselves in new ways in 2020. Our contributors, all of whom are already Docs wearers, inspire others to be resilient every day. Posing the question of ‘what does tough mean to you?’ we’re aiming to show the commonalities across our global communities and inspire people to have the courage to do what they want to.”

We Are Social Studios senior producer Jennifer Lawlor added: “It was important throughout this campaign that we authentically showcased our contributors’ incredible strength and character. By using a variety of camera techniques and filming on 16mm, we were able to create a world that was unique to each contributor. Our director, Taz Tron Delix, brought our vision for these worlds to life with a powerful energy and punk aesthetic which remains true to the Dr Martens heritage, and the rebellious spirit of the brand.”

So, what is the consensus around the Decision Marketing office, a place which has its fair share of renegades and rebels without a cause? Will we be heading online to grab yet another pair of DMs? Or will we, like some we have heard of, head to eBay to buy a counterfeit pair for as little as £25? (Heaven forbid).

Well, we have to ask our 18-year-old selves, what exactly is rebellious about shelling out 200 quid on a pair of boots that Brooklyn Beckham wears? What would we have said back then? What would Joe Strummer have said, other than: “Punk rock isn’t something you grow out of, punk rock is an attitude”?

Somehow we don’t think our Joe or our younger “selves” would have been that impressed… Still, we do quite like the ads and at least Dr Martens has something that most brands would cut their right hand off for, it’s “authentic”.

Decision Marketing Adometer: A rebellious 8⅜ out 10 and if you don’t like it, tough.

Print Friendly