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Gumshoe: the first shoe made from recycled chewing gum

Gumshoe: the first shoe made from recycled chewing gum | Amsterdam Metropolitan Area | Publicis
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Industry: Apparel, Clothing & Footwear
Style: Minimalism
Why is this work relevant for Brand Experience & Activation?

The Gumshoe was created to grab the attention about gum littering and educate about gum recycling of those who play the most significant role in the gum litter problem: youngsters. We decided to introduce them with something fresh and worth talking about: The first shoe made from recycled gum. We made the process of recycling gum more appealing with an outdoor campaign and recycling bins (from recycled gum) around gum littered areas. By uploading an picture of these gum recycle points and share it on Instagram they were able to win their own pair which contained their own chewing gum.


Each year 1.5 million kilos of chewing gum finds its way onto the streets of the Netherlands. Cleaning the gum costs the Dutch government millions of euros. Next to that it takes 20 to 25 years before chewing gum is degraded and many animals suffocate in the waste. Non-profit city marketing organisation Iamsterdam wanted to create awareness about the gum litter problem in Amsterdam and make sure people wouldn’t throw their gum on the street. To create awareness around this problem and help with the solution we needed a unique approach to get the attention of our target audience.

Describe the creative idea (20% of vote)

Chewing gum is made from a synthetic rubber. Which makes it a suitable material to manufacture new products. By collecting chewing gum from all over Amsterdam
we turned this useless waste into something useful and created a product people actually want from something no one cares about. We created the Gumshoe: the first shoe made from recycled gum. Next to that we worked together with the biggest gum producer in the Netherlands, Sportlife® to collect chewing gum through an outdoor campaign and put up gum recycling bins (made from recycled gum) in and around schools to prevent gum litter around these highly littered areas. This used gum is processed in new Gumshoes. By uploading an picture of these gum recycle points and share it on Instagram they were able to win their own pair. So you can eventually own a pair with your own gum in it.

Describe the strategy (20% of vote)

From research we learned that youngers aren’t sensitive for campaigns that tell you what you shouldn’t do. Traditional campaigns about littering didn’t achieve their goals, and first and foremost didn’t reach the target audience. We needed an approach that would interest them and at the same time educate them. In addition to increasing awareness, we also needed to create sympathy and genuine motivation to solve the chewing gum problem together. By combining their interest with the problem and presenting an innovative product we were able to have them talk about a problem in a positive manner. And make them a part of the solution.

Describe the execution (30% of vote)

On April the 18th a press release was sent out announcing the Gumshoe. In July we organised a release party in Hudson's Bay with Dutch celebrities and influencers. It got placed in the Munich Modern Art Museum with an opening by the Councillor of Amsterdam. In August IAmsterdam launched another event showcasing the Gumshoe. The month after it was presented at the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco. In October at the Dutch Design Week, the Plastic Promise with Dutch minister and famous DJ Sam Feldt, the International Shoe Conference in Belgium and Design week in Skopje.

Because of the enormous attention the Gumshoe received, the largest gum manufacturer in the Netherlands Sportlife® approached us to collaborate. In December we started putting up gum recycling bins around schools and worked together with street artist to make them more visible. Then in January we launched a big outdoor campaign.

List the results (30% of vote)

Through national and international media (blogs, social media, websites, news) we reached 17.078.270 persons nationally and over 750.000.000 impressions internationally. We can proudly say we’ve successfully reached the majority of the Dutch public with our message. Our content and story was published on several big Dutch lifestyle platforms, most big daily newspapers and national television. Via The Verge and Fortune magazine, the news quickly spread to China, Russia, Brazil and other countries. The buzz on social media was huge, with T-Mobile CEO John Legere and American comedian Pee-wee Herman talking about it. On social media we noticed positive comments, with people cheering the innovative and unexpected angle. The surprising element of the campaign created lots of sympathy. From Germany to Ukraine and from China to the US people heard about the Gumshoe as a way to fight gum litter. Within the first weeks our website received over a thousand pre-orders.
Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2019
Shortlist Brand Experience & Activation
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) / Corporate Image
Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2019
Shortlist Brand Experience & Activation
Local Brand
Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2019
Shortlist Brand Experience & Activation
Single-market Campaign
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