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matisyahupicforic.jpgI can’t claim to be much of a fashionista, but I have to admit that clothing and shoe designer Kenneth Cole’s latest ad campaign does a great job of being both slick and spiritual. The tagline for the campaign is “We all walk in different shoes” and instead of using more glam, high profile celebs, Kenneth Cole oped for a more eclectic mix of personalities, including urban church pastor Jay Bakker and Hasidic reggae artist Matisyahu. The series of ads not only uses the distinct images of each person, but also focuses on the unique stories of people from all walks of life as way of celebrating diversity.
In addition to Bakker and Matisyahu, the campaign features a transgender woman, an ovarian cancer survivor, and an African-American with Albinism–all of whom have stories of feeling like an outsider because they don’t conform to other’s expectations. And if you go to the Kenneth Cole website, you can do more than see the ads; you can watch video interviews and musical performances. Bakker, for example, tells of his struggles growing up as the son of Jim and Tammy Fay Bakker of PTL Club fame and his transformation into a renegade preacher, while Matisyahu describes how Bob Marley helped him better understand the Torah.


I don’t know if such a soulful, intelligent campaign is going to outshine the snazzier Gap ads or the cheesy commercials for Old Navy, but I sure respect the effort to remind us to think about someone else’s journey–whatever shoes they’re wearing.

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