Dr. Martens Shows A Little Leg

According to The New York Times, Dr. Martens are looking to rebound from a bad ad campaign and slumping sales.

After Dr. Martens ran advertisements that depicted dead rock stars like Kurt Cobain of Nirvana and Joe Strummer of the Clash wearing its shoes in heaven, the musicians’ survivors (who had not granted permission) and fans were outraged. The outcry was so great that the British company that makes the shoes, AirWair International, issued an apology and fired its advertising agency, the London office of Saatchi & Saatchi, part of the Publicis Groupe.
But now the brand has a new campaign, a new agency and fresh ambitions for a comeback.
The campaign, by Exposure Communications of London, features young models wearing Docs with grunge- and punk-inflected outfits and expressions of bored disaffection; the spots are appearing in the United States, Britain, France and Germany in publications like Teen Vogue, Spin and British GQ.

The article also mentions that Dr. Martens provides gratis to musicians, including Avril Lavigne, Gallows and the Misshapes. I don’t blame the brand for doing so, but I will ask, “How rock and roll is that?”

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. joe strummer wore DMs!
    the new doc about his life “the future is unwritten” is really good. well worth checking out.
    i saw him play with the pogues on st. paddy’s day in NYC in 1987. he did all the mandatory clash hits. nirvana was attained.