Clarks Originals eschews back to school bland with Kurupt FM tie up

The retailer has teamed up with the fictional pirate radio station to promote the Wallabee Boot

Jeevan Georgina Hammond

Editorial Assistant Creativebrief


Kurupt FM, the fictional pirate radio station, has teamed up with Clarks Originals to put its own spin on a classic shoe; the Wallabee Boot.

The redesign comes just in time for back-to-school season, as students gear up to buy clothes and footwear for the new academic year. The collaboration has received a warm reception from consumers. The limited-edition shoe sold out just days after its launch, fuelled by a flurry of positive engagement on social media.

To promote the Kurupt FM Wallabee Boot, well-known Kurupt FM characters feature in a series of comedic TikTok ads. The four videos are in keeping with the characters, comedy, and style established by the mockumentary series: ‘People Just Do Nothing’. The popular sitcom ran for five seasons and follows the lives of characters running a pirate radio station called Kurupt FM.

Since the series aired, the actors have successfully brought their fictional characters into the real world. They have performed at music festivals, conducted interviews, and featured in adverts, all in-character. Their collaboration with Clarks Originals is no different as MC Grindah (Allan Mustafa), DJ Steves (Steve Stamp), Chabuddy G (Asim Chaudhry), DJ Beats (Hugo Chegwin), and Decoy (Daniel Sylvester Woolford) star in four campaign TikToks, bringing their signature comedy style to each skit.

The first video sees DJ Steves and DJ Beats pretending to be students talking about the latest school uniform trends. Another shows MC Grindah visit a version of ‘Jamaica’ created comically by greenscreen. Grindah and pal Decoy discuss the cultural influence of the Wallabee in front of the Jamaican beach landscape. In the third, Chabuddy G gets inspiration from the Wallabee Boots for his next entrepreneurial venture. The series culminates in the group brainstorming their version of the shoe and sketching designs, some better than others. Each video is true to the ‘People Just Do Nothing’ universe, promoting the collaboration with Clarks Originals in a meta and genuinely funny way.

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The shoe itself is a smooth combination of the Clarks Originals classic Wallabee Boot, and Kurupt FM. Grey suede, inspired by the tower blocks from the characters’ lives, sports the Kurupt FM ‘K’ hand sign and a custom logo fob, accompanied by three interchangeable laces. As part of the launch, customers who buy the limited-edition Boots are entered into a competition. The randomly selected winners will be invited to the August 24th launch party and have the chance to meet Kurupt FM.

The collaboration underlines the power of brands leaning on the cultural currency of Kurupt FM’s stars. The limited-edition boots sold out just four days after their launch and have since been restocked. But it isn’t just the shoe that is a hit with consumers, the TikTok ads have hundreds of thousands of views and plenty of upbeat comments. Users have written ‘This is the best brand deal ever’, ‘First advert that I’ve ever enjoyed’, and ‘I’m buying them - literally genius collab’.

Such positive reception is testament to the success of a campaign that understands its audience. It successfully reaches a mixture of Gen Z and Millennials, those going back to school, as well as fans of the show.

While the Kurupt characters are definitely not school children, their humour, references, language, and use of modern British culture speaks to a range of fans, including students. With September around the corner, the campaign comes at a highly relevant time - the Kurupt characters wearing school uniform alludes to the new academic year. Add to that, the advert series is exclusively for TikTok, an app rife with users of the target demographic.

As brands prepare to launch their back-to-school marketing campaigns this partnership is a powerful example of how brands can do things differently. Clarks has achieved maximum impact by focusing on building cultural currency, while speaking to the right consumers, in their language, at the right time, in the right place.


Watch the TikTok series here:

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Gen Z Comedy Back to School