Step into Summer with Havaianas Shoppable Boardwalk


The shopping experience has changed a lot over the past few years.

With high street stores closing at an alarming rate and online sales rapidly increasing, it’s no surprise to see retailers competing for attention with unusual and engaging shopping experiences.

Outlandish pranks, pop-up shops and AI shopping experiences are among the myriad of tactics employed by brands and retailers to engage consumers and inspire brand love to drive sales.

In a bid to become the #1 sandal brand in the US, Havaianas created its first large-scale outdoor activation on the boardwalk of Venice Beach, California.

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“Step into Summer” was a collaboration between the international flip-flop brand and renowned street artist, Buff Monster.

Putting its distinctive footwear at the heart of a visual real-life experience, the brand created a 15 x 18-foot mural on the boardwalk of Venice Beach, California, for one day only.

The vibrant and summery mural was designed to engage and inspire passersby in a fun and exciting way.

Printed on a cushy material, similar to that used for Havaianas sandals, the installation tempted the public to shed their shoes, “step into summer” and feel what it’s like to wear a pair of the brand’s signature flip flops.

The design was not only bold, bright, and eye catching, filled with Buff’s signature ice-cream characters and images that pay homage to the company’s roots, it also had an ingenious additional purpose.

Using Google Vision A.I. technology, consumers could use their phone’s cameras to select different patterns from the mural and shop products with their respective themes.

When onlookers scanned their favourite part of the mural using their phone cameras, they were redirected to the Havaianas’ site where a pair of sandals that matched the colour or pattern of their selection appeared.

When members of the public stepped onto the mural to shop the boardwalk store they also unlocked styling tips from celebrity wardrobe stylist Tara Swennen.

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The unforgettable and impactful activation cleverly combined the real-life feeling of wearing a pair of Havaianas with immersive technology to delight and engage its target audience.

Artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality experiences are becoming increasingly popular, with brands battling for shoppers in a competitive market. Previously, Zara’s AR experience brought mannequins and models to life, while IKEA solved shopper worries with an app that allowed consumers to view furniture within their own home.

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Author bio


With nearly 30 years of marketing experience, both client and agency side, I’ve acquired a rare perspective on brands and business: I believe you have to challenge things creatively if you want to grow sales. Consumer technology is reshaping our world, and it’s only the great brands that stay on the crest.