These boots are made for orderin’

You can bet your boots you’ve never seen a menu item like this before. On the online menu for Toronto restaurant Three Monks and a Duck, just below the Crispy Calamari and Mama’s Roasted Chicken Rice, sits an unusual entree: Thesus Weekend Vegan Boots.

It’s part of a new campaign for the vegan footwear brand Thesus (formerly Alice + Whittles) called “Boots on the Menu.” It was developed by Trampoline, Juniper Park\TBWA’s branding incubator for BIPOC-owned small and medium-sized businesses.

The initiative brings together Thesus and vegan-friendly restaurants that share the brand’s eco-conscious values by placing a pair of Weekend Boots on their menu. The menu describes the $258 boots as if they were an entree: “Sustainably made with 95% natural and recycled materials, comfortable, water-resistant, and street ready (available in multiple sizes and colours).”

The campaign launched last week with partnerships with two Toronto restaurants: The Asian-inspired snack bar Three Monks and A Duck, and the vegan food and catering company Animal Liberation Kitchen.

It includes a documentary-style video that shows Three Monks and a Duck’s executive chef, Mark Lee, going about a typical day while wearing a pair of Thesus boots. The footwear brand is also promoting the restaurants on its social channels.

“The pandemic has presented local businesses with countless challenges,” said Thesus CEO Sofi Khwaja. “We hope this initiative boosts awareness for vegan-friendly eateries and their resiliency during the past two years, while also helping us to build a community of like-minded businesses that share our values of sustainable living.”

Trampoline was created in 2020 with a goal of addressing what the agency described as “the persistent BIPOC equity gap” in both the creative industry and society in general. It is built around two key elements: branding and mentorship.

Its previous projects include work with Neale’s Sweet N’ Nice ice cream and BlackCAN, an organization working to get more Black people involved in politics in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories.

“Trampoline has allowed us to nurture promising creatives and elevate ideas from brilliant BIPOC-owned businesses,” said Juniper Park\TBWA creative director Andrew Caie in a release. “It is incredibly rewarding to be able to work with Thesus on a campaign that not only showcases the brand’s purpose, but also supports local restaurants after a challenging two years in the pandemic.”

Chris Powell