Willi Footwear launched the Boomerang Plug on Indiegogo on the 22nd July. Willi are a Brisbane based Footwear Company, specialising in the iconic Australian footwear we know as ‘thongs’. Indiegogo is the largest global fundraising site for concept products. In the first hour, the Boomerang Plug raised $10 000 and within 24 hours, the company hit 45% of its fundraising target. The product aims to prevent ‘blowouts’. The Boomerang Plug is a new design of thong that preventing the straps coming away from the base, a problem all Aussies have experienced at one time or another.
So far the product has been designed, developed, tested and awarded patents in multiple countries around the world. Once Willi have achieved the funding target, shipping of the Boomerang Plug to Australian consumers will commence in 3-4 weeks. Marketing for the Boomerang Plug at this stage appears to be on social media and through endorsers such as Bondi lifeguard Trent Maxwell and Iron Woman Courtney Hancock. The main competition for Willi is Brazilian company, Havaianas. Havaianas have become an iconic brand in Australia and Willi will challenge this. They are also proposing a very competitive price point.
Willi has two advantages over other brands in the current market that haven’t been strongly addressed to the consumer. They are an Australian brand and they are customisable. Will allows the consumer to change stripes and base to suit their style. Havaianas have adopted this element of customisability in Brazil but it hasn’t ventured to our Australian shores. Customisable thongs can be utilised in many ways from football team colours to wedding and party favours, there are endless benefits to having customisable thongs. Willi are currently redesigning their website so you can design and order your thongs online. This will be a huge advantage as presently, Willli Footwear can only be purchased in their specialty store in Burleigh Heads, Queensland, or through their eBay store. It would be advantages for Willi to form a presence in a variety of surf shops to increase its reach and consider co-branding with a brand such as Ghanda. Ghanda are a tracksuit come leisure wear company founded in Torquay, Victoria. Ghanda have grown from their original store to 21 stores across Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales. I feel these brands have similar grass-roots, share a similar style and consumer. As these brands are physically based in different locations, it could be beneficial for their reach mutually. However, Ghanda currently appear to be employing an exclusive-style marketing plan where their products are only available in their stores and their stores only stock Ghanda products.
Willi are aiming to launch onto the Australian market in time for summer and with high levels of initial support, this appears probable. The possibilities of marketing campaigns for such a new brand are incredibly exciting. Social media, done properly, will be their best asset as it allows for high reach on a limited budget. Through social media there would be the opportunity to create interest around iconic days in summer when Australians love to wear their thongs, such as Boxing Day and Australia Day. Campaigns could also incorporate Australia’s favourite summer locations where Australians associate wearing thongs, such as Bondi beach and the Great Ocean Road.