Birkenstock Launches ‘Ugly For a Reason’ In-Depth Global Campaign

The Birkenstock brand traces its roots back to 1774 when Johann Adam Birkenstock was listed as “subject and cobbler” in the church archives of Langen-Bergheim, Germany.

Birkenstock has launched its first global campaign “Ugly for a Reason” – a three-part video documentary that shines a light on the human foot, raising awareness of the importance of foot health and the role footwear plays to maintain it.

The campaign is in the tradition of the lectures in which master shoemaker Konrad Birkenstock educated his peers in Germany and parts of Europe in the 1920s about diseases of the foot related to wearing the wrong footwear and the means to alleviate them – a tradition that was later continued by his son Carl Birkenstock and his grandson Karl.

The campaign was produced by T Brand, the content studio of New York Times Advertising. The paid content campaign is set to be published on the New York Times website as well as on Birkenstock’s online and social channels.


The series’ opening chapter delves into what role the feet play in evolution and includes insights from scientists Carol Ward, Curator’s Professor of Paleontology at the University of Missouri, and Benno M. Nigg, Professor of Biomechanics at the University of Calgary.

The second episode, “Finding Our Feet”, will air on August 11, and looks at how to fix the future of foot health, through the lens of Birkenstock heritage in orthopedics, while episode three, “Stepping into the Details”, investigates why functional design, quality, and responsibility are important for foot health. It will air September 21, 2022.

“This campaign has been developed to inform consumers about the marvels of the foot,” said Oliver Reichert, CEO of the Birkenstock Group.


“The evolution of mankind is deeply grounded on the development of our feet. Without an upright walk the human species would not have survived. It is all the more surprising how little research has been done on the human foot.

With our campaign, we want to stage the human foot – and address the role of proper footwear for our health. Most people are born with healthy feet and develop painful foot issues because the shoes we’re wearing are often too small, too narrow or have heels that are too high. We want to draw attention to this and enable consumers to make better-informed decisions – no matter which footwear brand they ultimately choose.”



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