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Maybe if you build it they will come after all…

Vans, the seminal skater (sk8r) sneaker brand now owned by VF Corporation (client at a previous agency), has done something the import of which has yet to be fully understood. Behold the House Of Vans.

Their own site doesn’t do the space justice so please be sure you go here and watch the video.

I call this “neo-content marketing” because it goes way beyond a brand telling a story, and way beyond encouraging consumers to tell their own stories. “Neo-Content Marketing” happens when a brand goes beyond the normal ways of story-telling and content creation to deliver a brand promise through an inimitable experience. It goes beyond pop-up stores and other, temporary, experiential efforts. It even tops Converse’s Rubber Tracks music studio in Brooklyn, NY.

Vans has done exactly that. And more.

With this move Vans buys preeminent positioning among their target audience as well as brand enthusiasts for being “underground” (literally and in every sense that it means in the UK public transit vernacular) and supportive of the creative scene. The space succeeds in keeping the SoCal flavor of the brand in a place as far away from sand, beaches and sun as you can get: London, 5 stories below the charming web of streets. Even the simple act of going to the space and re-emerging when you;re ready to go home gets to the heart of the brand.

Plus, it’s wicked cool.

Watch for more examples of neo-content marketing as brands continue to discover new, innovative ways of being one with their stakeholders, both long-standing and desired.

As usual, thanks to @PSFK for breaking this really interesting story.

Editor’s note: As news of Bud Light’s planned takeover of a town – and the townspeople’s apparent reticence regarding the plan – broke this week, we can all be reminded about how NOT to go about creating a “neo-content marketing” event. See also the very thoughtful observation below from Stefanie Kobsa about Red Bull and how they go about things.