February 28, 2018 Keen’s Call to Action
Conservation was all the rage at this year’s Outdoor Retailer in Denver. While many brands used the occasion to raise awareness of public land politics, it was Keen’s good old-fashioned, inside-the-box approach to advocacy that really got people talking.
In the last issue of Suston, we wrote about outdoor brands taking a bold stance in defense of public lands in the U.S. (see The New Activists). The standoff ultimately led to the trade fair Outdoor Retailer (OR) being moved from Utah to Denver, Colorado. Using this new venue as staging point, this January witnessed yet another brand casting itself into the fray by issuing a call to action. Literally.
Remember telephone booths? We might be seeing a lot more of them, as Keen Footwear’s campaign Better Takes Action has been making waves since its appearance at this year’s fair in Denver. There, Keen offered attendees a list of five environmental issues from the Keen Effect phone book. Next, they were provided with instructions on how to contact the appropriate state representative via the Capitol Hill Switchboard, using a vintage telephone booth with a payphone. Once connected to the representative’s office or its voicemail, they could then voice their concerns or read from a prepared script if they preferred. A long line of eager, newly-deputized advocates stood in wait for the opportunity to give Washington a piece of their mind throughout the duration of the fair.
“Oftentimes, the biggest barrier to engagement is having access to the right tools to make your voice heard, so with the Keen Call to Action booth, we’ve removed all the barriers by providing visitors with the tools they need to take action – the phone, phone number, and call script,” says Erin Gaines, Advocacy Manager at Keen. “We wanted to create a supportive environment for engagement, and even visitors who were nervous or hesitant at first walked away feeling empowered, with a smile and a sticker telling the world, ‘I took action!’”