No, not Return to Oz

Instead I'm referring to Magic Steps, specifically, Clarks Magic Steps.

In 1988, presumably off the back of that decade's trend for epic fantasy movies, British shoe shop Clarks launched a range of girls shoes with a magical princess theme. Looking back on it now from a time in which "princess" branding is now both ubiquitous and crushingly pink, the tone of this campaign is really rather admirable, the princess is both the hero of the story and the over all feel recalls the likes of The Neverending Story and Ridley Scott's Legend.

Here is the advert in all its 50 seconds of glory:

Fairy folk! Evil Witches! Adventure!

The shoes themselves came packaged in their own special themed box, which also included some collectable cards and your own magical plastic key. Later versions were more elaborate, with a metal key which fit into the heel to rotate a little cameo picture embedded in the sole.

Sadly there's not much in the way of evidence of this mini epic of an ad campaign remaining, I'm sure there were follow ups to the launch ad (it ends on a cliffhanger!) and I'm fairly sure there was even a denouement once the range came to an end.

But this is all we have to go on now, so we must remain as much in the dark as to what happened as those poor fairy folk were. Was the key kept safe? Did the witch ever get her revenge? Did the princess grow up and sell that box of sunlight to Marsellus Wallace?

80's fantasy, even at your most literally commercial, you were awesome.

Hat tip to blog All Those Horrible Things which did a great job of finding what little about these shoes is still available.