Which shoe company represents U?
I am trying to understand my identity as a member of an 'alternative market', and trying to figure out how & why marketers target me to sell their bloggable/unbloggable products to. In a world where everything is trying to 'go viral', it's hard to know what's authentic and what makes you seem like less of a 'real person.'
I think it's fair to say that NIKE will always be the best 'lifestyle brand' for both mainstreamers and alts. They have a dual identity. While the probably have well-developed research facilities to develop cutting edge products for the top athletes & the best 'kids who play a sport and have parents who love them too much', most of the alternative branding is done with 'old products that aren't incredibly comfortable, but people enjoy how they are perceived by others when they wear the product.' AKA 'The Convese All Star Theory'.
Sneakers/shoes/footwear are a HUGE representation of 'who u r', so I figured I should breakdown what popular shoes mean about U.
Good examples are:
The Samba - I wonder what would happen if people who owned Sambas were required to register for an indoor soccer league. Overall, a 'humble yet alt' look that I would compare to a modern take on the Converse All Stars.
Nike Air Force 1s - They are for both black and white people. For people who have advanced beyond having a desire for owning the shoes that belong to a popular athlete.
Generally, Air Force 1s are colourful, and these colors can be used by generic altbros to differentiate from 'the pack.' People think they are supposed to be interested in interesting colors on shoes.
Nike Dunks - Are these the same as AirForce1s? I can't rlly tell.
New Balance 991s - A shoe made for mainstreamers/frat bros/girls who wear athletic shorts+a university t-shirt. These shoes are built for comfort. I wonder if they selected a comfy shoe on purpose, or if it was an arbitrary decision.
Reebok PUMPS - Worn by some one who is probably a VERY dedicated alt or a self-proclaimed 'sneaker freak' who wants to stand out more than Nikes would allow him to. When it comes to 'form', I don't see why any one would prefer a Reebok design over a Nike design. However, the guy who 'is wearing pumps' really wants your attention.
Vans - You might be an entry level 'scenester' if you wear Vans.
Checkered Vans - You might be a future FGGT/GHEY/future-failed-alt who gets too involved with marijuana and being quirky
The awkward Nike shoe that looks like an indoor soccer shoe/Van - what kind of ass hole would wear this? Probably a failed cool dad.
Adidas Gazelles - If you want an Adidas indoor soccer shoe, you should buy a Samba. Gazelles are kind of like alt-Vans (that's a bad thing).
Steve Madden Men's Shoes - It's probably 'business casual day' if u r wearing these shoes.
Keds - You are REALLY being an ass hole if you wear KEDS. You are probably a 'kid who thinks he/she is smart even though you go to community college and only wear Earth tones/pastels and actually still have Wes Anderson posters up in your room.'
Doc Marten Sandals - Ur probably taking a bath in Abercrombie cologne and shaving your 14 year old pubes in preparation for your 'first sexual experience' if you wear these.
Asics - these are for people who are still trying to find themselves/are trying too hard to differentiate.
LA Lights - The type of person who wears these would also like to have a conversation about shows that were on Nickelodeon when you were a kid. 'Remember Pete&Pete?'
Regular Converse -a classic look that often justifies itself/leaves much to be desired at the same time. It sort of says 'I am a humble person' but still lets people know that you are either 10-25% alt or 100% post-alt.
Quirky coloured converse - You were probably in a ska band in high school and are attached to your image as 'the smart kid who was also artistic and also had a quirky side that his teachers absolutely loved!'
Interesting print Converse - The weekend shoes of mainstreamers.
Converse All Star Xtra High - If u wear these, u do not contribute anything positive to society. Your legs should be removed from the knees-down, and your legs should be used to keep kids in Africa warm.
Awkard Puma soccer/turf shoe - You should have bought some Sambas instead of being a weirdo.
Womens Reebok Freetyle Hi - I have yet to meet a girl who would actually wear this.
Why is Reebok trying to trick French people who like tecktonic into thinking their shoes make them dance better?
Yelle is more important to Reebok than Michael Jordan is to Nike.
Have u seen this Funny YELLE product placement commercial for Reebok?
On the subject of alt-celebrities promoting shoes...
I still can't believe Converse hired the guy from the Strokes, the black guy from The Pharrell, and Santogold to write a song to promote Converse. This quirky video that forced music blogs to sound excited about an MP3 from multiple artists from different target audiences was one of the biggest hoaxes of the modern bloghouseosphere era.
The song is pretty funny. I feel like sneaker companies forget t
hat 'normal people' wear shoes. It's not just people who 'think their shoes make them look cool.' This song is the type of song that 'people who think that listening to certain new/buzzworthy artists makes them cool' would listen to on their way to the mall.
I feel like music blogs have a bad reputation because up to this point because of this type of content. A lot of 'd-bags who think the are supposed to find a collaboration like this interesting' are the main proponents of mp3 blogs as a news/culture source. So while bloggers feel pressured to 'blog about this new [HIGHLY BLOGGABLE] content', the marketers/companies gain promotion but subtract from the authenticity of their message & the authenticity of the targeted blog as a tastemaking source. Advertising to 'alts who are too cool for anything, but still kind of impressionable' is difficult, and companies must hire better marketing teams in order to reach the new ALT MARKET, as opposed to advertising to the circa 2002 HIPSTER MARKET.
IS IT REALLY NECESSARY TO PROMOTE THE CONVERSE ALL STAR? If I were the CEO of Converse, I would stop making every non-AllStar shoe and cancel their initiatives with high-profile athletes like Dwayne Wade.
Converse should just start distributing through thrift stores and be happy with 'letting people pay what they want' for their shoes. It worked for Radiohead's "In Rainbows" and I think this product is similar.
Overall, I think Nike is the powerhouse with all of the history to make the best marketing campaigns. They realize that alts buy their products, but they don't dedicate that much direct marketing towards them. They let 'sneaker designing boutiques' and popular athletic figures who every1 liked as a kid to keep the brand's presence strong with the alts.
This commercial appeals to both mainstreamers and alts with powerful imagery/iconography that we can all associate with. In addition, it utilizes that anthem by the Killers about having soul but not being a soldier (this song theoretically appeals to every1/sounds like the kind of song that mainstreamers-who-are-unaware-of-new-bands will go out and buy, then have conversations about 'hearing this awesome song in a Nike commecial and the CD is actually really amazing.')
[HIGHLY RECCD ENDING WITH A SPRINTER WITH NO LEGS]
I don't think Nike's alternative advertising is very heavy-handed. They keep their mainstream markets as a top priority as opposed to trying to 'take over the alts.' For example, this Nike Soccer commercial was directed by Guy Richie, who is theoretically an indie director (who banged Madonna), so every one can feel comfortable liking it.
N e ways...What kind of shoes do you wear?
Which lifestyle brand do u trust?
Which business is the best?
What shoes will be big in 2k9?
Do u feel like u r way 2 valued as a 'hipster' consumer by d-bags who have brainstorming sessions where they try to identify 'what makes a hipster'?
What is a 'hipster'?
What is an 'alt'?
What is a 'scenester'?
Should I buy shoes only based on comfort?
Should I buy shoes that are made by lil AZN kids/women who are being underpaid?
Does being a 'responsible consumer' make the world a better place?
Remember hippie kids who 'didn't wear shoes'?