Michael Bailey Deputy editor

Michael has been a business journalist for 12 years. He has extensive experience editing magazines covering funds management, commercial property and the travel industry. In 2011 he won a Citi Excellence in Financial Journalism award for a BRW cover story on economic indicators.

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Volley’s textbook rebound

Published 20 October 2011 05:01, Updated 27 October 2011 05:15

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Pardon the terrible pun but until this year, Pacific Brands’ Volley shoes were losing their soul.

“The brand was trying to be too many things to too many people,” Pacific Brands’ marketing manager for Volley and Everlast, Jessica Bibby, says. “The shoe itself had evolved and become quite bulbous and we were slapping the Volley brand on things that weren’t Volley, like thongs.”

To arrest sliding sales, Pacific Brands pulled two tactics out of the nostalgia marketing textbook – get back to basics and use the community to ignite nostalgia by sharing stories about the brand.

It was decided that the early 1970s version of the Volley, the International tennis shoe in which Evonne Goolagong won Wimbledon and Mark Edmondson snatched the 1976 Australian Open from John Newcombe, was “Volley at its best”, Bibby says.

In March this year, Pacific Brands made a big deal of “rewinding” the Volley to its 1975 specifications and drove home the nostalgic deal with a national competition to find “Australia’s most well-worn Volleys”. It even brought Goolagong back to curate an exhibition of “finalist” shoes. A fetching pair of 1973 Volley high-tops were deemed the winners.

A Volleys fan page on Facebook has laced up 30,700 “likes” but more importantly, Bibby says, the sales of Volley Internationals are up 13 per cent year-on-year. The total budget of the Volley relaunch was $2 million.