How The Sole Supplier boosted engagement with an AR Instagram filter

In its first week, The Sole Supplier's campaign gained 710,000 impressions and 7,276 captures.


The client:

The Sole Supplier is a sneaker affiliate marketing platform with more than 3 million monthly users, delivering the latest news to sneaker fans across the UK and Europe with direct links to buy.

The challenge:

Reflecting on the fact that many of us are staying home and have more time on our hands to consume content, The Sole Supplier wanted to explore the idea of creating a free Instagram filter using AR technology. The filter would help banish boredom, introduce new audiences to its brand, and compensate for the physical aspect of the sneaker community being lost during lockdown.

The filter would also serve as a great way to launch The Sole Supplier’s new marketing mantra – Never Miss A Drop – in an engaging and sensitive way.

The strategy:

Having decided it wanted to create an Instagram filter, the company held a planning meeting with its in-house creative team who deliver engaging content around the clock to its community of sneaker and streetwear fans.

It took less than an hour to dream up the “Never Miss A Drop” campaign, after sharing as a group the IG filters team members have used and enjoyed, and agreeing on the message they wanted to promote.

Using selfie mode, players could move their head left and right to navigate The Sole Supplier’s CEO, George Sullivan, to catch falling sneakers in a shoebox and compete for the top score – a fun play on the company’s new marketing mantra, Never Miss A Drop.

The Sole Supplier was confident the idea captured its new brand ethos, while offering its community a welcomed distraction from the downbeat news flow. It also encouraged social sharing between groups of friends and families at a time when they couldn’t physically share experiences.

However, creating the AR element proved to be more challenging than the team first thought. The company approached an agency with its concept, which it knew had IG filter capabilities. But, unfortunately, the development wasn’t within the agency’s remit. Instead, The Sole Supplier decided to contact freelance developers through their Instagram profiles, and found someone who was as excited and on board with the idea as it was. Importantly, they also possessed the development skills the team was after to create the filter.

Alongside creating the filter itself, The Sole Supplier also needed to produce a visual asset to be used as a download advert in the APP store. This would be bold and enticing to publicise the filter launch and encourage downloads in an overcrowded marketplace. For this, the firm called on a bank of freelance VFX and videographers.

All IG filters must be submitted to Facebook (Instagram’s parent company) before it’s approved for the platform. This, it turned out, wasn’t an easy process.

While the team was extremely happy with the filter, it turned out that Facebook wasn’t, and rejected it three times on the grounds that The Sole Supplier logo was too prominent and it included text that wasn’t considered vital to the filter’s function.

Just as we submitted the final version, Facebook stopped reviewing new filter submissions due to COVID-19. Luckily, it got approved two weeks later and the company was finally able to launch. Users were encouraged to include the “Stay At Home” IG badge on their posts to compare with other sneakerheads and spread the all-important message.

The result:

Using Facebook’s Spark AR suite, The Sole Supplier was able to monitor impressions and use of the filter. In its first week alone, the campaign had 710,000 impressions and 7,276 captures, proving to be a big hit with the sneaker community.

There was also a lot of buzz across The Sole Supplier’s social channels, with a high level of sharing, comments and likes. The supporting APP download campaign also achieved great results as low as £0.34 per download.

The Sole Supplier says that using the Spark AR filter for a novel game was fun and got great results. The team’s eyes are now open to the power of new types of AR experiences on Instagram for engaging our community, which will be its next endeavour into the world of AR.

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