Learning From VANS – Rebel marketing

Love or hate them, you can’t ignore them. That’s what being a rebel is all about. They just do what they want to do, not conforming to societal norms, and when time looks back at them, they…well, did what they wanted!

Back in the 1970s, skateboarders were seen as rebels in California and no one would’ve ever thought they would be the reason for one of the most popular shoe brands in the world. VANS, which is today worth billions, started out as the go-to shoe brand for skateboarders – and thus, one of America’s greatest brands was born.

Subculture over mainstream:

Skateboarders in the United States were seen as rebels with an anti-establishment streak. VANS understood this and embraced the culture. Their shoes struck a chord with the community for their eccentric design while also providing the right fit, comfort, and durability.

Soon, VANS was worn by almost every single “serious” skateboarder and as their numbers increased, so did their sales.

Embrace yourself:

Soon, VANS created a niche for itself as being the go-to shoe brand for the misfits – punk artists, snowboarders, comic book enthusiasts and more. With time, they also became aligned with the mainstream, as students began sporting their shoes, cementing their place as one of the most recognized brands.

VANS smartly marketed itself and told a generation that you don’t have to change yourself to be accepted. That ethos continues today, and is one of the biggest drivers of their success.