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Timberland reboots brand with ads that woo millennial consumers

FOR 08222010 MAGAZINE GALLERY -- STYLE WATCH (BOOTS) 2/7 Timberland “Tackhead” leather and canvas boots, $325 at The Tannery Photograph by Pat Greenhouse / Globe staff Boston, MA 7/28/10 #3 Men's boots are photographed for the Magazine Style Watch column, on Thursday, July 28, 2010. (Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff); Reporter: XXX; Section: Magazine; Slug: style watch 22 Library Tag Magazine 08222010
The Boston Globe

Timberland, a New Hampshire company with a rugged boot heritage, is looking to reposition itself as a lifestyle brand for so-called millennials, a term that marketers use to describe consumers who are mostly in their 20s and early 30s.

To that end, a marketing campaign has just launched with the theme of “Best Then.  Better Now.” The campaign rolls out roughly two years after Timberland was acquired for about $2.2 billion by VF Corp., a North Carolina-based company whose clothing brands include the North Face, Nautica, and Wrangler.

The Timberland campaign relies heavily on social media, which is seen as a good way to woo millennials. The campaign also includes print and a 60-second TV spot.

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One goal of the campaign is to give Timberland a distinct identity from the North Face.

VF views the North Face as a perfomance brand that makes clothes for alpinists and serious outdoor types, though Harvard Square can often be awash with folks who regard North Face clothing as ideal components for styling a swell Saturday afternoon macho latte-buying outfit.

 “As Timberland continues to grow along an outdoor lifestyle path, we’ll begin to see a clearer distinction between the brands,” Steve Rendle, a VF vice president and president of the company’s Outdoor & Action Sports Americas unit.  “While The North Face takes you to the top of the mountain with athlete-tested, expedition-proven product, Timberland is rooted in longstanding New England heritage and poised for outdoor lifestyle growth. Timberland is the next big growth story for VF. With careful brand management, I believe VF will really strengthen these complementary positionings and grow both brands.”

Timberland’s “Best Then.  Better Now.” campaign was developed with Leagas Delaney, a London ad agency. Print ads are making their debut in the October issues of such magazines as GQ, Esquire, and Men’s Journal. The TV ad has just begun to air on such networks as Comedy Central, ESPN, and NBC, Timberland said.

 “Fall 2013 marks a major turning point for Timberland, as we re-launch our brand to a new generation,” Jim Davey, Timberland’s global vice president of marketing, said in a statement.  “In everything from product to creative to in-store presence, consumers will see a new Timberland; one that is inspired by our past, but crafted for today.  We’ve wrapped it all up in a platform that says it all: ‘Best Then.  Better Now.’  At its core, ‘Best Then. Better Now.’ is an invitation for consumers to rediscover the Timberland brand. It reminds people that the 40-year heritage behind our original yellow boot is here to stay, but also surprises them with a fresh, new, style-driven direction that spans across footwear, apparel, and accessories.  We are a true head-to-toe—or as we like to say, toe-to-head—resource for the millennial consumer’s everyday life.”  

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