Be Daring.

It was in Milan, during a conversation with a French gentleman named Frederic that the concept for our Fall 08 ad campaign was born.  He was interviewing Harry, Cani, Larry and me to get at the core of the Jump brand and to help us identify what our message ought to be.  In the past, we had used the tag, “…for the people” which parlayed into the Chinese characters, 人類 (humankind), which can be found on many of our shoes.  We wanted to understand how best to explain why we used these words and what it would mean to people.

It had to do with how the brand was founded in Taiwan.  American sneakers from Nike and Adidas were pouring into the market but were for the most part, too expensive for the better part of the Taiwanese public.  So Jump emerged as the brand that could offer the American performance and fashion at a price “the people” could afford.  Over the years, the brand had evolved to design and produce product that promoted harmony across different peoples and cultures around the world.  For a brand that began as the partnership between brothers in a family, working things out peacefully and harmoniously became a cornerstone of Harry’s business style.  There is no zero sum game with Harry; all parties can win together.  I suppose this contributes to why everyone I meet who knows Harry has something good to say about him.

The conversation continued as I began asking, are our shoes really “…for the people”?  Our styling had become very directional, taking inspiration from all over the world but was it really for everyone?  It was then at this juncture that the interviewer became the interviewee as I noticed Frederic was wearing a pair of our shoes, a pair that was rather fashion forward at that.  We talked about how it made him feel, a middle-aged man wearing shoes designed obviously for someone in their twenties.  He took a moment to think about it then told me rather resolutely that it made him nostalgic of his younger days, of the days he was a young musician in Paris.  In essence, he was daring enough to try Jump’s fashion but in the end found that it had become his own!  What a beautiful message.

The truth is that while our premium styling is very forward luxury fashion, our pricepoints are more entry level between $100-250.  So we decided that we would ask our customers to “be daring”, to try something that they might not normally try and to make it their own.  At our pricepoints, you can actually afford to be a little daring.

So it was here that I could finally put all the pieces together.  I had Sung, a highly talented actor who, in his own right, was already being daring in taking on very aggressive, iconoclastic roles.  I had Blanq in Taiwan whose body of work was already in an uncharted territory, merging a western modernity with traditional Chinese aeshetics in a way I’d never seen done so thoughtfully before.  I had Arowana Films, indie filmmakers who could craft all this into something alive and vital.  I had our categories – Indie Exec, Tuxedo Man, etc.  And now I had the message that would make it all work.  We would employ Sung’s talents as an actor to show how by wearing our shoes, you could dare to be anything you want from a brash young executive to an urban biker cowboy or to an elite military officer.  And we would do this in a series of short films and in our print ad campaign.

For me, it was all a daring proposition.  It was in fact, what the figurative more transcendental meaning of JUMP was.  To be daring enough to go from one set of circumstances, environment and situation into a better one.  Now, we’d spent months anticipating the making of it and piece by piece, the parts began to be form into the whole and now, finally, the final products are starting to all come together.  It’s become so much more than shoes.  It’s become creating art that extends beyond advertising and marketing.  It’s become a cultural expression to be shared with a global community.  It’s become the embodiment of being daring and I can’t wait to unleash it to the world and to share it with all of you.  So for now, be patient =).

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