First Class Shoe / Virgin America

Submitted By Julie Blakley


We made a sneaker that had all the amenities of Virgin America’s first class. It got a lot of press.


How do you reach your core demographic with product messaging without them realizing it or paying for media?

Technical Challenge

This was one of those ideas we all knew was f*cking great, but we couldn’t get the client to see the possibilities. Luckily, our CCO believed in the idea so much, he let the agency foot the bill to make them. The client agreed to let us make the shoe, but told us it’d be up to us to figure out how to get it out in the world. That’s where I came in. We didn’t have access to any of Virgin’s owned social channels, and their PR agency wasn’t pitching it to outlets, so we had to get creative. I suggested we list the shoe on eBay in honor of #NationalSneakerDay, writing the listing and deciding to have the auction proceeds go to Soles 4 Souls, a non-profit which donates shoes to kids in need. Then we had to get the sneaker freaks interest piqued to drive up bidding. We started a guerilla PR campaign, sliding into the DMs of bloggers and writers at pubs like Complex, Highsnobiety and Sneaker Freaker until we got a bite. It worked, and next thing you knew we were getting headlines around the globe and the auction climbed to over $98k. Michael Strahan talked about it on Good Morning America and Viceland called it “the wild nurse shoe of the future.” I’d call it a win.


Virgin America


Eleven Inc.


Innovative Use of Media


Tourism & Travel


Creative Director

Ricard Valero


Julie Blakley


Andersen Oliveria

Account Executive

Lily Byrne

Agency Producer

Calvin Wan




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