At the start of 2020, Vans briefed us on this year's spring-summer collaboration with JD Sports — bringing to life a campaign that put aspiring creatives at the heart of their new collection.

Because of the scale of the campaign, it was split into two phases. Phase 1 was to shoot content with a unique narrative for each talent, which allowed us to fully engage with the talent by telling their story in some way. And phase 2 was a case of figuring out how to build the wider campaign, using our talents to further interact and engage with JD’s audience.

Phase 1: Capturing the Artists’ Narrative 

With the running thread of ‘let the talent takeover’, we immediately began our search for the perfect collaborators. We reached out to a number of talents with a range of creative skills — from fine art and cookery to music and more.


We narrowed it down to our select three talents: Dan, an illustrator from Birmingham; Prince, a DJ and Chef from London; and Hel, an illustrator and ceramics artist from Yorkshire. And for each of the talents, we created a shoot narrative based on their art and lifestyle, using locations linked to the talent meant that the content captured felt as natural and authentic to each personality as possible, whilst conveying a fun, Vans’ attitude and feel.


Cue Lockdown

Between phases 1 and 2 of the project, the country was put into lockdown, and offices, including our own, had to close, meaning shoots were no longer allowed to take place. The core content for phase 1 was (fortunately) produced,  just before the new rules were put into place, with the help of photographer Sam Hiscox. Now it was just a case of adapting the wider campaign — and working with our selected three talents from home.


Phase 2: Time to get Creative 

Initially, we had proposed to get our talents involved in in-store activations such as DJing, cooking and art workshops, but with the nation in lockdown we had to get creative. 

So, we revisited our phase 2 ideas — reframing to work on social and other digital channels, engaging the JD consumer in a different way.











In-store creative

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The team proposed a series of ideas that we could brief our talents on, without any of us having to leave our home offices and studios. 

Through the JD Housewerk and Artwerk campaigns, Prince hosted a live DJ set on JD Official’s Instagram, and created his own bespoke playlist for JD’s followers to listen to on Spotify. Hel hosted a digital workshop, showing the JD audience how to create a ceramic model, which ran alongside a competition to win Hel’s ceramics and a full Vans fit. And Dan showed JD’s followers how to get creative at home, with a super simple, yet playful, step-by-step guide.


Our trio’s content has been really well received by the JD audience, and we can’t wait to share our end of campaign results soon.