Marketers find Barre’s history just the right fit
The Timberland Boot Co. is using historic images of Barre's granite industry to promote a new line of footwear the company says was inspired by Barre and its past.
BARRE TOWN — If you don’t think the local granite industry has a story still worth telling, try selling that to the folks at The Timberland Boot Co., who turned what was supposed to be a routine photo shoot at Rock of Ages last year into a multimedia campaign that is very Barre.
“It’s pretty impressive,” Rock of Ages spokeswoman Amanda Pittsley said of the newly launched digital campaign for Timberland’s high-end heritage collection.
“Originally, they were just looking for a rugged place to go with their new line of boots,” Pittsley recalled. “They were just hoping to use a panoramic of the top of the quarry as an intro to this ‘mine’ of products as far as their industrial boot.”
The photo shoot a year ago turned Quarry Hill into boot hill for a day and a half.
“We literally spent all day carrying around boots,” she recalled of Rock of Ages’ attempt to accommodate a photographer and a creative director interested in making the most out of a texture-rich setting that includes everything from the frequently photographed quarry with its towering derricks to rough-cut granite blocks and weathered railroad tracks.
“They wanted different textures to show behind the boots,” she said. “We were just going to be the granite backdrop.”
Or so Pittsley thought until she recently visited http://abington.timberland.com and learned the photo shoot had “morphed into an entire product line” that makes up Timberland’s latest Abington Collection — a nod to the company’s first incarnation as The Abington Shoe Co.
“The Abington Fall ’13 Collection was influenced by the people of Barre, Vt., and a 150 year old granite industry that transformed the tiny New England town into an international destination for commerce and art.”
So says the slick website, which announces a product line that features several styles of boots and a shoe “designed with the Italian sculptor in mind.”
The site features a collection of historic Barre photographs to go along with the marketing shots that were taken last year, a couple of timelines, and a few video cameos featuring Italian-born granite sculptor Giuliano Cecchinelli.
“Shop the collection that Barre inspired,” it concludes.
Pittsley was impressed.
“You would have thought we went to them,” she said.
According to Pittsley, it isn’t unusual for Rock of Ages to field photo requests from fashion editors and companies like Lenovo interested in using the quarry as a backdrop, but the company rarely gets to see the end result.
“We’re just a site,” she said.
Pittsley said she never imagined the sort of spread Timberland came up with when the photographer and creative director headed into Barre to see what they might find at the Vermont Granite Museum and the Vermont History Center.
What they found, Pittsley surmised, was a story ready to be told.
“I think they were just overwhelmed with how much information there was,” she said.
Though they can be purchased online, the boots said to be inspired by the people and the industry that put Barre on the map are available at only two Vermont locations, according to the website: Maven on Cherry Street in Burlington and Manchester Footwear on Main Street in Manchester.
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