Cole Haan Hits the Rails With #SubwayStyle

If you’re like me, you often find yourself checking out other people on the subway. It’s not because you’re a freak or because you’re in the market for a “casual encounter” (or maybe you are). There’s just NOWHERE else to look.

Like its neighborhoods, New York’s subway lines each have their own distinctive fashion code.  A ride aboard the L into Williamsburg will inspire bohemian chic, skinny jeans on men and bicycles as extensions of one’s self.  Hop on the 6 during rush hour at Grand Central and you’ll be taking a Vuitton briefcase in the back, an Armani suited shoulder pad in the eye and inhaling the scent of a dozen expensive leather bags. The late night subway edition displays ladies en route to their nocturnal destination, teetering in 6 inch heels, sparkly leggings and fur vests with hot-ironed curls peeping out from under their wool berets. The ever-stylin’ city male is clad in dark denim rolled up to show off his short suede boots, one hand tugging at the hem of his tailored sports jacket lined with a gingham pocket square, the other pulling down his dutch boy hat to keep his head warm.

To sink its teeth into this grassroots fashion fusion, Cole Haan brought its “SubwayStyle” campaign online during New York’s Fashion Week. What began with simple subway ads (Cole Haan spelt out in MTA icons) soon transpired into a location-based social media campaign. Influential bloggers were invited to a secret event at the MTA transit museum where they were given a pair of pre-selected Cole Haan shoes and asked to tweet/blog about their evening to get it rolling. The only snag — there’s no service underground, so they couldn’t tweet from the event. Poor insight into the behavior of bloggers, but they did blast it out later.

Cole Haan’s “SubwayStyle” lives on Tumblr, a place where the user can sort by neighborhood, train line and trends to see what’s catching nods underground:

Cole Haan Tumblr

Select “Manhattan”, “B D F M line”, “Winter” and you’ll get a snapshot like this:


A centrally featured poll offers a “This or That?” question to get the user clicking:

Cole Haan polls

#SubwayStyle has grown legs on both Twitter and Instagram, with users linking to and posting photos of city style under the city:


Cole Haan has taken “location-based” marketing and put it in the hands of the influencers — fashion bloggers and their followers.  These influencers  are rewarded with a free pair of shoes and a possible gift card. But, how can Cole Haan leverage this exposure better? By tagging the photos with Cole Haan products. If I like a pair of shoes or a jacket there’s currently no way for me to know what the product is called without doing a search online. Save the user  time and they’ll be filling their shopping cart much faster.

Cole Haan can also reach out to the  individual tweeters/customers. For anyone that uploads a photo to #SubwayStyle, Cole Haan can send them a private message with an in-store discount code that aligns with their “tagged neighborhood”.  C’mon Cole Haan, get even more local!


Cole Haan, #SubwayStyle has made my DigiDay!




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