Mindy Kaling is adding some star power to DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse.
The actress, comedian and writer is appearing in a new campaign illustrating the power of finding the right shoes. The campaign, which breaks today, will run through 2020 across TV, digital, social, events and Kaling’s social media channels — where she has 3.9 million followers on Instagram alone. It’s the first time DSW, which sells footwear and accessories for women, men and children, has featured a celebrity in its advertising.
The campaign features Kaling in 60- and 30-second spots showcasing how DSW has the perfect shoes for every situation and mood. This includes snakeskin booties that inspire the need to get back together with your ex-husband (even if you don’t have one), to chic mules that transport you to your next vacation to the Amalfi Coast, to sandals that make you dream of sipping an umbrella drink and napping on the beach.
Kaling will also be featured in 15-second videos.
In a telephone interview, Kaling said this was her first fashion ad campaign, although she has done an ad for Nationwide that ran during the Super Bowl in 2015, as well as ads for American Express.
But DSW was fun because Kaling used to shop there as a teenager growing up in Boston.
“I have such fond memories of DSW from my childhood. It’s where I got my prom shoes, I would go with my mom. When I think about how we would bond, it would be through shopping and we would go to DSW all the time. I just loved it as a teenager,” said the 39-year-old Kaling.
She said that when she decides to help represent a brand or be an ambassador for them, it’s important that she actually uses that brand so it feels more authentic.
Asked whether she’s a heels or flats kind of gal, Kaling said, “I’m the kind of person, because my knees haven’t gone out yet, I love a stiletto and I think they’re so flattering.” When the block heel became popular, she remembers being bummed out about it, “because I don’t think they’re as fun or sexy.”
These days, Kaling said she still enjoys shopping at DSW, and likes the fact that they have everything from sneakers to heels. “I’m a writer, but I’m also an actress. I feel like I need to have a lot of different kinds of looks, more casual writer’s room looks — they have really chic sneakers — and then shoes for when I go to events and red-carpet things. I like that I can pick my size myself. They offer a ton of designer options…so many more designer options than when I was a kid,” she said.
Amy Stevenson, chief marketing officer of DSW, said, “We wanted to partner with Mindy because, like most of our DSW customers, Mindy lives a multifaceted life as a businesswoman, mom and friend, and she does it all while looking stylish and staying true to herself.”
Kaling got her start on “The Office,” where she played Kelly Kapoor and also wrote, executive produced and occasionally directed it. She went on to create, executive produce and star in “The Mindy Project,” and co-created and executive produced “Champions.”
As for whether she got to write the script for DSW or they wrote it for her, she said, “I punched it up and the director comes from the comedy world.” The shoot took place at Universal Studios in Los Angeles, where they created a DSW store.
Kaling said she likes to keep up with the fashion world and went to the Tory Burch show in February. She’s also been to the Met gala several times and plans to go again this year. As a mother of a one-year-old daughter, she said, “One of the great joys of having a daughter is I love buying clothes for her. DSW has fantastic shoes for kids. I stole like six pairs of shoes from the set.”
In addition to appearing in the DSW campaign, Kaling has several projects percolating. She recently got the green light to do a 10-episode series for a semi-autobiographical, coming-of-age story for Netflix.
“It’s the life of a 15-year-old Indian-American girl in Southern California. Netflix had approached me about doing a show that was kind of autobiographical, and I thought it would be more interesting to do something that wasn’t based solely on my life because it was too much scrutiny. But I get to use my experiences. I decided to do a show about a girl today that I thought would speak to young people a little bit more than doing a retro show,” Kaling said. She said she hasn’t started casting yet and expects it will come out in 2020. “We’re pretty early on in the process,” she said.
Kaling also has a movie, “Late Night,” coming out June 7, on which she served as a producer, writer and star opposite Emma Thompson. The comedy, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January, is being released by Amazon Studios. It’s about a talk show host — on the verge of losing her show — who hires a female writer (played by Kaling) to revitalize the program.
She also recently completed production on a miniseries adaptation of “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” for Hulu, slated for July.
But as far as appearing in the DSW ads, Kaling said she enjoyed the experience. “It’s a very different format for me. I just think they’re really funny. I was excited to be back in the DSW atmosphere,” she said.
DSW, a division of Columbus-Ohio-based Designer Brands, operates more than 500 stores in 44 states, in addition to its e-commerce site. For the fourth quarter ended Feb. 2, DSW reported a loss of $5.4 million, while revenues advanced 16 percent to $843.4 million. DSW’s comparable sales also increased 5.4 percent in the quarter, on top of last year’s same-period gains of 1.3 percent.
For the full year, DSW’s net sales rose 13 percent to $3.2 billion, but the firm posted a reported net loss of $20.5 million.
Last October, DSW partnered with brand management firm Authentic Brands Group to acquire Camuto Group for $375 million. Under the terms of the deal, the pair snapped up the intellectual property of Camuto Group’s brands, including Vince Camuto, Louise et Cie, Sole Society and Enzo Angiolini. While ABG bought the majority stake of 60 percent, DSW took the remainder. During its investor day, the company said it was creating a new umbrella company called Designer Brands, which will be listed as DBI.