Merrell favors fresh air over gimmicky self-care gadgets in new ad

Linda J. Dodson

Dive Brief:

  • Merrell today (March 1) debuts a fresh campaign designed to debunk the gimmicky products in the self-care market and remind women of the power of the outdoors. The footwear brand’s “More Less” effort was developed with creative agency Lafayette American and will appear on TV and online channels, according to details shared with Marketing Dive.
  • New 60- and 30-second ads follow a series of women as they ditch their healing crystals, gold-plated dumbbells and “beauty guru approved spirit dust” and instead gear up for a hike. The ads denounce newfangled wellness products that say, “You need more ‘this’ to be more ‘that'” while promising to improve consumers’ health.
  • Arriving in the lead-up to International Women’s Day (March 8), Merrell’s spring campaign attempts to shift how women approach self-care by emphasizing simplicity and pointing out how unrealistic and expensive the wellness world has become.

Dive Insight:

Timed just before International Women’s Day on March 8, Merrell’s latest creative effort attempts to dismantle the endless chase of the women’s self-care market, which suggests products like yoni stones and LED face masks can transform a consumer’s day or life, according to campaign details Merrell shared with Marketing Dive. The underlying theme of “More Less” is how the simple act of spending time outdoors remains an effective and affordable form of self-care.

“The self-care industry has made billions of dollars by telling women they don’t measure up, and that the only way to fix that deficit is by buying certain products,” Merrell CMO Janice Tennant said in a statement. “The goal of this campaign is not just to reclaim outdoor spaces for women, but to help them reclaim themselves.”

The idea of simplifying self-care aligns with Merrell’s 41-year-old legacy. The outdoor footwear brand for decades has emphasized the straightforward power of outdoor exploration. Now, its latest ad campaign ahead of International Women’s Day reinforces its mission to make the outdoors inclusive and accessible.

The new spots out today build on Merrell’s past marketing around getting outside. For Great Outdoors Month in June 2021, Merrell ran its first national spot on Hulu and hosted a series of online and in-person events to encourage outdoor activities, including camping how-to resources, recipes for outdoor cooking, yoga in the park and fitness events at outdoor breweries. Prior to that, its May 2021 “Take a Hike” initiative introduced a new category of shoes fit for any walking excursion, conveyed through an expanded definition of hiking to meet the needs of today’s active, urban consumer.

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