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Share a Story, Not a Product

Ruth Bourne is a Client Services Executive who sits within the fashion and beauty team at Whalar. In this article, Ruth uses our collaborations with Nike, Converse and Boots to illustrate the cross-campaign power of strong social narratives.    

The importance of having a meaningful element throughout a campaign and generating constructive conversation is now more crucial than ever as influencer marketing has matured. Identifying creators who resonate with the purpose of a brand is key to ensuring that the campaign taps into audience’s emotions and builds that authentic relationship between a client and consumer. It’s becoming increasingly less about the celebrity product placement, and more about telling, not showing.


Nike | Women's World Cup 2019

The Women’s Football World Cup was one of the most highly anticipated events in the world, with countries rallying around their teams and the players as they competed in the tournament. As part of their global campaign celebrating inspiring and powerful female footballers, Nike partnered with artists in nine markets to produce artworks that drew out the stories of athletes of their national team.


@fiance_knowles delivering on her artistic license for Nike and justifying the power of interpretation. 

Each creator was partnered with a footballer to not only celebrate their sporting achievements but to celebrate the determination and persistence of their subject and the obstacles that they have faced when participating in a traditionally male-dominated sport. Each artwork captured the footballers’ dedication to the game whilst also skillfully weaving in their personal stories beyond the pitch that further inspired followers.

The sentiment in people’s reactions were overwhelmingly positive. Viewers actively engaged with the content by praising the athletes whilst recognising the challenges that they’d overcome to represent their national team. The artists themselves were proud to have participated in such an impactful campaign:

‘I love what Nike is currently doing… they are perpetuating the “nothing is impossible” notion’ said Rewa (@artbyrewa).

Nike successfully spread the message of the campaign by aligning themselves with artists who shared the passion for football and female empowerment, establishing themselves as genuine supporters of the movement.


Converse | Love the Progress

As historic rule-breakers, Converse wanted to confront the traditional perception of women in society and redefine what it means to be a girl. The brand launched a sneaker pack ‘Love the Progress’, which was inspired by a huge range of women, past, present and future, who were diverting from the path and forging their own identities. They were bold, unapologetic and excited to explore the world with whatever opportunities they could seize.

For @belilabelle, she leveraged her creative influence to ask; "For me, being a girl today means rebellion and evolution. We are changing the way we see ourselves, and that means we are changing the world. There is still a lot to transform, but I'm excited to be part of that path #InMyConverse. Tell me, what it is for you to be a girl today?"

Creators who broke away from the norm by exploring their personalised narratives in the campaign showcased how anyone can rewrite what being a girl means. They personalised their pair of White Chucks by coming up with their own definition of a girl, and then gifting the shoes with the words to a woman who had inspired them. Through this exchange, and the incredible experiences that each creator shared with their audience, an interwoven narrative of social empowerment was established as the backbone of the campaign.

As the influencers had curated their following based on their aspirational personalities, the campaign messaging seamlessly fit in with their feed and narrative. Rather than simply promoting the shoes as a product, Converse focused on how they made someone feel; powerful and ready to take on the daily challenges that life threw at them.


Boots | Let's Feel Good

Summer can be a daunting period as heat waves sweep across the UK and beaches are filled with desperate sunseekers looking to cool down. This year, Boots wanted to champion self-confidence and tackle anxiety head on. Their summer campaign was centred around encouraging all women to recognise their own individual beauty and feel summer ready, without having to change.

Whilst no products were featured in the content, influencers highlighted how Boots helped them celebrate summer and break through any potential barriers that society imposed. They inspired their followers with brave stories about how they allowed their inner self-belief to permeate their lives, and drew on the theme of acceptance to celebrate what confidence meant to them. For instance, @oliviarosesmithx, a cancer survivor, shared her brave story with her viewers, highlighting the body as her ‘home’ and how imperative it is to take care of it.

By working with inspiring individuals, Boots recognised that a product can be brought to life by association with inspiring stories. Isabella of @fauxnandes captured this notion perfectly in her video, by displaying the effectiveness of the sun lotion from Piz Buin itself, but the indirect benefit that it brought, as it allowed her to ‘have my scarred skin on show and feel good about it.’


As the influencer marketing industry grows, brands are wising up to the opportunities that true creators bring by supporting their visual content with inspiring and personal stories. As uniquely placed to tell certain stories, our creators have the power to bring a new perspective to a brands cultural influence. A strategy that cannot be replicated in-house, an independent creator can interpret a narrative in their own way, using their unique style to make it relatable to consumers.

The more collaborations we complete, the more we realise that trust in the creative voice yields the best results and that the narrative behind a campaign is often what captures the imagination of viewers, rather than the product itself.


Banner content from @artbyrewa for Nike.