Some of the locations and kids in the latest Payless ShoeSource commercials might look familiar.
Twelve Kansas City area kids star in the company’s recently launched national back-to-school campaign shot around the city.
The campaign features Kansas City’s West Side neighborhood, the Power & Light District, and the skate parks in Penn Valley and Columbus parks.
“I like that my grandmother from Wichita and Florida can see me at the stores and even on TV sometimes,” said 9-year-old Grant Grusch, a Kansas City redhead featured in the ads.
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Grant’s mother, Jill, said that it was great to see Kansas City in a national ad campaign and that the campaign’s slogan, #OwnYourStyle, matches KC’s individuality.
Grant has been modeling since he was 4 years old, but this is the first time he could pick out his own clothes for a shoot. He decided to rock a T-shirt emblazoned with a pug riding a skateboard and was excited to see the shirt plastered on large banners at Payless stores.
The short #OwnYourStyle videos can be seen on the Payless Facebook page and in commercial spots through September. The local kids give their best unscripted fashion tips and explain what trends match their styles.
“The Crossroads and downtown have this arty vibe that doesn’t try to be anything that it’s not,” said Ellen Junger, chief customer and marketing officer for Payless. “We really liked the vibrant art culture. The campaign is all about personal expression, which really came through in the locations.”
Junger said they were impressed by the local talent and received more than 300 applications, far more than expected.
Topeka-based Payless ShoeSource filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in April as it continues to struggle against online stores. As part of its filing, Payless announced it would close nearly 400 locations, including three area stores in Independence, Grandview and Belton. There are still more than a dozen Payless stores in the Kansas City area.
Jacob Gedetsis: 816-234-4416, @jacobgedetsis