Number One Shoes harnesses the power of the freebie for store relaunch campaign

In 2010, Number One Shoes dropped the word ‘warehouse’ from its name in an effort to shift the brand from being associated with large storage facilities. And now, in a continuation of this move away from all things utilitarian, the chain is revamping its stores to create an improved shopping experience for those that walk through the doors.

The Albany store, located in the Westfield shopping centre on Auckland’s North Shore, was the first store to be relaunched, and the shop at St Luke’s will follow suit next month.

To draw attention to the changes, Number One Shoes has launched a quirky series of campaigns via PR agency Starseed (Contagion holds the creative account for Number One Shoes, but it was not involved in this campaign).

“Earlier last month we launched the Albany store with people lining up at 6am,” says Starseed creative director Karen Maurice O’Leary. “This hype was created by announcing a public housewarming party. Shoppers were invited to come down, take off an old pair of shoes at the front door and walk in barefoot to choose a brand new pair of shoes for free.”

She says the response to this first part of the campaign was “fantastic”, with around 150 people queuing up, some of which arrived three hours before store doors even opened.

Upon entering the new stores, those customers who weren’t too preoccupied with the promise of free goods would’ve noticed some interesting changes to the layout of the store.

“A lot of design/interior work has created a completely transformed shoe shopping experience,” says O’Leary. “The new layout is made up of a series of ‘shoe zones’ catering to women, men, kids, teens, toddlers, brides and sports lovers. The kids’ zone has a play area with fun seating to entertain children while parents shop and the separately styled bridal zone has a ten-person ottoman, large enough to seat an entire bridal party.”

In addition to giving away shoes to barefooted shoppers, Number One Shoes also launched a Cinderella-styled campaign that used social media channels and the blogging community to spread some hype.  

Single heeled shoes were seeded out around Auckland with a drop zone map and live clues released through Facebook and bloggers. Those that discovered the shoe boxes in the various secret locations throughout the city could then take the single shoe to the Albany store and redeem it for a new pair of shoes.

“The shoes were snapped up much faster than anticipated,” says O’Leary. “The first Cinderella shoe dropped was picked up in less than 30 seconds, by a lady who had been following the stunt closely through social media. As she rushed to the first drop zone her mother was already driving to the second spot, pretty amazing. There were even a few guys out on the hunt, their girlfriends instructing them via mobile where to look.”

O’Leary says that it wasn’t difficult to get bloggers interested in the project, on account of the fact that many saw the stunt as interesting enough to cover.

“Bloggers were keen to reward their loyal followers as part of the project,” she says. “Key bloggers were given their own Cinderella shoe allocation and specifically gave clues to their fans.”

This isn’t the first time that Number One Shoes and Starseed have given away free shoes as part of a promotional campaign. Last year, for a campaign running alongside Fashion Week, the Auckland public got to take home shoes straight off the models’ feet as it launched Number One Shoes new season range.  

In that instance, the company used an Adshel to reveal where freebie-hungry customers could line up to get one of 50 new-season sample shoes. And as the media fashion show came to an end, the models stepped off the runway and continued their walk onto Customs Street to meet the crowd. All the sample shoes from the show were then handed out directly to customers who had gathered.

Given the success of these campaigns so far, /blog/2013/12/black-friday-atmosphere-gets-electrifyingStarseed PR is likely to use the power of free goods again in the future. Let’s just hope this doesn’t eventually lead to New Zealand’s manifestation of Black Friday chaos. Because if there’s one thing that people love more than a good deal, it’s a freebie.   


Client: Number One Shoes
Creatives: Kirsty Hitchcock and Priya Ratan
Digital PR Account Executive: Heidi Thompson
Videography: Interlike
Creative Agency: Starseed

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