Taylor Swift And Keds: A Match Made In Heaven?

Taylor Swift And Keds: A Match Made In Heaven? image Swift Taylor 2007Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

If you live on the moon, there’s some chance you don’t know about Taylor Swift. But if there’s a ten-year-old girl on the moon with you, you’re no doubt well-acquainted with America’s (and the world’s) latest sweetheart.

At least, that’s what Keds—a classic sneaker brand launched in 1916—is betting on. Swift is the new face of their latest campaign, an effort to target tween- and teen-aged girls with one of their most beloved idols.

The hub of the campaign is at Bravehearts.com, but social media platforms from Pinterest to Facebook to Twitter host much of the content. On Twitter, for instance, fans can commune with the hashtag, “#bravemoment” (a switch, by the way, from the initial “#braveheart”—still showing up in Google—which tangled participants up in conversation about Mel Gibson’s kilt-clad warrior movie).

The Bravehearts site offers a host of content suggestions and conversation starters for each of the different platforms, inviting “brave girls” to share their stories and hopes and challenges with one another—all under the doe-eyed watchful gaze of Swift herself.

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The pairing makes sense on many different levels:

  • She’s squeaky clean. Though not an actual Disney princess, Swift is a role model parents, right along with their daughters, can love. Her innocent, well-mannered image aligns perfectly with the active, fresh-faced, old-school Keds brand.
  • But she’s spunky, too. For all her scandal-free appeal, Swift also takes boys who’ve broken her heart to task, and she clearly has her own mind and own ideas.
  • She’s an established brand success. Keds had already established audience overlap with the launch of a limited edition red sneaker, in honor of Swift’s “Red” album last year.
  • She’s already active in all the places Keds wants girls to go. Swift is a frequent Twitterer and Instagrammer who shares bits of her day and words of wisdom with her fans on a regular basis. So whether she adds Keds messaging to her own digital presence, or gets active on Keds’ own branded accounts, she’s already well-versed in the type of tone and content that succeeds on social media.

With all these positives, could the campaign possibly fail? Obviously, no venture like this is 100-percent full-proof, and there’s a chance Swift may have a misstep. You can guess advertising insiders will be on the lookout for drama, based on a few risk factors:

  • She’s less of an “everygirl,” every year. At the ripe old age of 23, Swift isn’t a teenager anymore, and though she’s still starring in posters on the walls of teenagers, she looks and acts less and less like one as the years go by. A series of more mature, risqué outfits at recent events are establishing her as a woman… not a girl.
  • She’s developing a bit of a . . . reputation. Swift was the target of a few pointed remarks at the recent Golden Globes ceremony, where Saturday Night Live alums, Amy Poehler and Tina Fey, joked about her tendency to date younger men (18 year-olds, in fact.) And then there’s the matter of the more-than-a-little-testy break-up songs. While it’s likely teenage girls won’t mind—as long as the boys are cute—parents might raise an eyebrow before long.
  • She’s potentially overexposed. Not long after scoring the Keds campaign, Swift is signed up to rep Diet Coke. And then there’s Cover Girl, and Sony, and LEI Jeans, and her own fragrance and who knows what next. Granted, multiple endorsements are fairly typical in today’s star-hungry landscape—but if Keds wants to rep Swift as a down-to-earth, independent role model, a long succession of million-dollar deals might be tough for young ladies to relate to.

It’s more challenging than ever for celebrities to keep an untarnished reputation in the media, as much as advertisers wish they could elude any sort of muddy publicity. Odds are, however, that Taylor Swift will emerge as a success with her Keds endorsement, given the fit between her image and the product itself.

And if things don’t work out . . . maybe she’ll write a song telling us all about what went wrong.

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