mobile social media

Clarks to use Whatsapp to tell pop culture history of Desert Boot


Clarks Originals is turning to popular messaging app Whatsapp to launch a multimedia storytelling campaign created by agency BBH.

The UK-based footwear brand will use the platform to tell the tale of its Desert Boot as it relates to popular culture. “From Rats to Rudeboys”, as the initiative is being called, will see images, playlists, videos and messages sent from three key personalities from subculture movements that featured the boot as an unofficial mascot during the 60s and 70s.

To access such accounts, users are first prompted to add a new contact number to their Whatsapp via teasers films placed across social media. That will introduce them to Nathan Clark, the original Desert Boot pioneer – a young man in the British Army in Burma who discovers a suede and crepe boot through his fellow officers in the bazaars of Cairo, and takes it back to his small family shoe business in England.

From there, fans are invited to discover the stories of Steve Barrow of The Mods, Bruno Barbey of The Enraged, and Stitch of The Rudeboys. Below is more detail from Clarks on each of them:

Steve Barrow, The Mods
If it’s possible for one man to define an entire subculture, Steve Barrow would be as close as it gets. In an era when modernist culture was flourishing in the UK, Steve would find himself at the heart of it. He was The Mod. He would go on to inspire the youth of his generation to embrace new music, and through his finely tailored tweed suits and the Clarks Desert Boots on his feet, to embrace fashion. Add him on WhatsApp (+44481 492599) to hear his story live from 1965 and be a part of the coolest generation Britain has ever seen.

Bruno Barbey, The Enraged
In May 1968 Bruno Barbey, Paris resident and Magnum photographer, was to find himself at the centre of a national uprising. Over the course of those few, tense days, he would go on to capture a series of photographs that would define a nation’s restlessness and encapsulate the spirit of rebellious youth. Add him on WhatsApp (+44481 491810) to hear his story live from 1968, from the debates with the heads of the Sorbonne, to the Clarks Desert Boots the students wore on their feet.

Stitch, The Rudeboys
Meet Stitch, reggae icon and head of a group of rudeboys called the Spanglers who were at the heart of reggae’s birth in 70s Kingston. At a time when status was king, every rudeboy in town had to own a pair of Clarks. But how do you buy British shoes when your government have banned imports? Add him on WhatsApp (+44841 495645) to hear his story live and direct from 1976. The man who left for England with a suitcase full of records, and returned with a suitcase full of Clarks.

By Rachel Arthur

Rachel Arthur is Editor-in-Chief of Current Daily, the leading news source for fashion, retail and innovation, and the co-host of its weekly Innovators podcast. She otherwise serves as Co-Founder and Chief Innovation Officer of Current Global, a transformation consultancy driving growth within fashion luxury and retail. By background she is an award-winning business journalist and consultant, contributing to titles including Wired, Forbes and Business of Fashion.

2 replies on “Clarks to use Whatsapp to tell pop culture history of Desert Boot”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.