Colloquially referred to as the coronavirus, the recently discovered disease that has created a global pandemic is also known as novel coronavirus, COVID-19, and, more specifically as SARS-CoV-2. The virus is wreaking havoc across the world, including the health and livelihood of billions of people, international travel, and the global economy — but there is a sliver of hope. Individuals and companies are coming together for a humanitarian purpose that is unprecedented in modern history.
And one company, Keen, is putting its best foot forward. In just five days, and working virtually, the Portland-based footwear brand launched the Together We Can Help campaign that gave away 100,000 pairs of shoes to people in need: healthcare workers, grocery store employees, and families seeking to make the best of this situation while schools and businesses are closed down.
“In the face of what may be our generation’s greatest challenge, the Together We Can Help initiative was created to enable people to take positive action and build connection in a time of increasing isolation,” stated Erik Burbank — Keen Global GM Outdoor, Lifestyle, Kids — in a release. “Enabling people to ‘pay it forward’ by providing someone in their community with a free pair of shoes has helped build connection at a time of great need.”
Here’s how it worked. The platform allowed fans of the brand to nominate individuals from around the world that they felt would benefit from a new pair of shoes during the coronavirus pandemic.
The campaign wasn’t without its hurdles. The program was hacked numerous times by bots tracked to multiple continents. Despite these attempts to derail the initiative, Together We Can Help was successful and KEEN achieved its goal of outfitting those serving on the front lines during this global crisis. At the end of the campaign, 100,000 pairs (worth roughly $10 million dollars) went out to individuals around the globe. Approximately 50% of the codes were redeemed in the United States, followed by Japan, with a roughly equal number of redemptions in the European Union and Canada.
“We’ve been profoundly moved by the amount of goodness and compassion we have seen from our fans and others during this crisis,” said Burbank. “Giving our fans the ability to nominate someone they felt most in need during this time and empowering them to pay it forward through a simple act of kindness has been incredible motivating for our entire team.”
Keen was founded with a mission to “be more responsible citizens of the planet, embrace other cultures and ideas, and make a positive contribution.” Whether it’s organizing a beach cleanup, creating sustainably sourced products, or donating in the aftermath of natural disasters, the family-owned business has a reputation for living by this mantra.