Welcome to Will It Stick, a podcast hosted by Alexis and Melissa as they seek to break down the craziest marketing brand stunts. From what sparked the idea, to whether the stunt proved successful, they take listeners on a journey of brand history. In this episode, they take a look at the infamous shoe company, Ugg, and how they’ve recently conquered a marketing challenge – putting men in Uggs.

Tom Brady as the face of Ugg for Men

The Ugg Brand is an undeniable cultural phenomenon. You either love them or you hate them. A quick google search will show you that the majority of the media who have written about Uggs thinks they are an ugly trend that just won’t go away. But despite that, people all over the world are still obsessed – and today that obsession spans multiple generations – babies, kids, tweens, teens, and adults of all ages…. and surprising to many, MEN. Uggs does about $1.5 billion in annual sales.

A recent earnings call revealed that the Ugg men’s line has been outpacing the growth of all other segments of the brand. Like other target audiences the brand has set out to conquer, Ugg did this by relentlessly pursuing the male demographic. The first group Ugg targeted, interestingly enough, was surfers.  Brian Smith targeted surfers by going to surf shops and showing them his own sheepskin boots, traditionally called ugg boots or ugh boots, and worn by surfers in Australia. Advertising with real surfers resonated with locals and Ugg became a staple of SoCal beach culture. By 1995 his company was doing $15 million in sales. Then the brand was sold to Decker.

Early Ugg Ad for Surfers

The next demographic targeted was women. Within just a few short years, Decker took Ugg international by targeting west coast celebrities and east coast fashion editors. Then, a pair of Ugg boots were sent to Oprah, when she shouted them out on her show and eventually put them on her favorite things list multiple years in a row. This caused a huge spike in sales and suddenly they were on the feet of every young female celebrity. But eventually, Ugg boots became a symbol of the “basic bitch” fashion. So, Decker wanted to rebrand by targeting men bringing on NFL star Tom Brady as the face of the brand.

Jessica Simpson in Ugg Boots

There was a lot of buzz around the brand because of this partnership, but there were also a fair number of critics. Despite the mocking around men in Ugg shoes, the partnership worked because they did develop a strong men’s market and continue to sell men, women, gender-inclusive, and children styles as well as home goods.

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Resources:

Check out some of the great articles we sourced to gather all the facts for this episode.

Watch Tom Brady and Jeff Bridges Ugg ad here

Read Tom Brady’s Ugg Town and Country interview here

Business Insider

The Drum

Wall Street Journal

Inc Magazine

WWD

Footwear News

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