Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Converse: Standing Out in a World of Replicas

In a world dominated by mass production as a key defining feature of the modern and post-modern era, duplication seems to be way to go. The market is proliferated with goods and services that seem to just be different variations of each other. Pirated shoes, bags, watches, clothes, electronics and what not have taken over, much like the piracy of music and movies that are available in retail outlets everywhere for a dime a dozen. The idea behind everything is that the lower the price of each individual item (which can be achieved through said mass production), the happier consumers are. The more happy consumers there are, the more happy suppliers there are. What’s happening is the propagation of a culture of piracy, with originality no longer a defining value of today’s society. But contrary to what is perceived, in this day and age of cloning and copycats, never has there been a higher premium for innovation than before. And Converse, a leading proprietor for footwear that rebel against the dictates of the status quo, has taken the fight against mediocrity to the interactive world.

Converse, famous for the all-time great “Chuck Taylor All-Stars” that has served as a symbol of rebellion and uniqueness for numerous decades now, recently came out with the promo “What’s your Favorite Pair?” which enticed Converse shoe lovers to come up with their own UGC and send them through the shoe company’s promo site. The promo aimed to make the most creative photos, videos and artworks out of the Converse community, reinforcing the brand’s identity as an advocate of originality. No longer was the story being told by the brand managers and creative directors of the company, but by the Converse users themselves. Creativity was no longer trapped inside the four corners of an ad agency. It transgressed the hearts, minds and souls of those who truly believed in the product. The promo ran from May to August of 2009, becoming an instant hit to the members of the Converse community. The site had almost 2,000 members and almost160 entries, all wanting not just to get hold of the prizes that Converse was giving away weekly but to showcase their talents and make people take notice. In order to promote the site further, the site was advertised through the Abs-Cbn website as well as through Multiply Leaderboard ads. It was also cross-promoted through Yeng Constantino’s site, as her followers were seen as the same stand-up-and-take-notice-while-we-rock people that would most likely be Converse-lovers. These marketing endeavors definitely helped out in getting more than 41 thousand views for the site in the few months of the promo’s duration. This is quite a success story in a world dominated by patronage to reproducibility. And they haven't stopped there, as Converse is doing another UGC project aimed at tapping into music aficionados. This has all the makings of another successful endeavor.

Originality has never gone out of style, and thanks to brands like Converse, it never will.

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