New Visit Iceland campaign turns sweatpants into hiking boots

visit iceland sweatpant boots

M&C Saatchi Group has launched a new campaign for Visit Iceland encouraging people to upcycle their lockdown sweatpants into hiking boots.

After more than a year stifled in lockdown, Iceland wants us to reawaken our senses with an Icelandic adventure. 

Visit Iceland, get boots

The first 100 visitors to book a slot at the pop-up shop in Reykjavik and turn up with a valid plane ticket showing their arrival in Iceland from 24 June onwards will have their old, tired sweatpants transformed by hand by Icelandic designer Ýr Jóhannsdóttir, into a pair of bespoke hiking boots, with any remaining fabric becoming the bag in which to carry them home.

The international campaign is launching today and running in the US, UK, Canada, Germany, Denmark and Sweden. 

Along with a film, there will be a TikTok challenge launched, promoted in Germany but available globally.

There will also be a custom Snapchat AR filter that will turn your shoes into Sweatpants Boots and it will transport you to different regions of Iceland.

The campaign launches with a 90 second music video showcasing the sweatpant boots in action in Iceland. 

The video features an exclusive song performed by Icelandic artist Cell 7 and produced by Ásgeir Orri Ásgeirsson.

Camila Gurgel, Senior Creative at M&C Saatchi London, said: “Iceland is everything we’ve been craving in the past year. And sweatpants are a symbol of lockdown life, sameness and boredom – all the things we want to leave behind when we can travel again. 

“So we found a way to celebrate this breakout moment by turning sweatpants into the ultimate symbol of exploration and discovery: hiking boots. 

Freedom after lockdown

“The campaign is a simple and fun way to invite people to finally come to this wonderful country and enjoy their much-missed freedom.

visit iceland - sweatpant boots campaign
New shoes: Inspired Visit Iceland campaign urges us to get away.

“My creative partner leva Paulina and I recorded a version of the Sweatpant Boots song to help sell the idea, and our client was immediately on board (despite our doubtful vocals). 

“We then worked with the Icelandic artists Cell 7 to create the final version of the track.

“On paper, the idea of Sweatpant Boots is simple. But to actually create a pair of boots made out of sweatpants was quite a journey, and we had a lot of fun with it.”

Sigríður Dögg Guðmundsdóttir, Head of Visit Iceland, added: “All over the world, we have been under various lock downs and restrictions for over a year and let’s face it, we’re in a bit of a rut. 

“In Iceland, we are lucky enough to have a wealth of adventure, from the bold waterfalls in the south, to the tranquil shores of the East and all the food, music and well being culture across the country. 

“For those ready to travel again, we want to make sure you’re ready to experience life to its fullest and take on whatever adventure you’ve been craving. 

“And some lucky visitors will get to do it with their own unique Sweatpant Boots.”

visit iceland - sweatpant boots campaign
Recycling: Sustainability is a key feature of the campaign, turning sweatpants into hiking boots.

Sweatpants symbol of pandemic

Stevie Archer, Executive Creative Director, SS+K, said: “Sweatpants are the symbol of how we’ve coped with the pandemic. 

“They are the perfect thing for a year cooped up inside where the biggest adventure is dialing into a video call. 

“Now Iceland is literally turning our comfy sweatpants into the boots we need to get out of our comfort zones and enjoy all the incredible experiences we’ve been missing out on.”

Located on Rainbow Road in downtown Reykjavik, the Sweatpant Boots pop-up shop will be open throughout July offering to upcycle lock down sweatpants into exclusive, limited-edition and one-of-a-kind boots.

For those that can’t make it to Iceland just yet, the country has created a bespoke website that invites everyone to virtually try-on a pair of Sweatpant Boots and see what adventures await them in each of the seven regions of the country.