The centurion of fashion product placement, Converse, a brand in constant reinvention ever since I can remember, has outdone itself; by introducing a new ‘prom’ range. In this day of Manolos and Jimmy Choos, seriously? And who goes to ‘proms’ these days? The brand turns a glorious 102 years old this year.But Converse surprises us every time, with rock star collaborations and product placements that are so off-key, but highly effective, they stun the budding marketing student in me, over and over again.
In 2005 the Chuck Taylor All Star Peace Collection
called upon artists from around the world to submit artwork that embodies their personal vision of peace. This was at aimed at the millions of people around the world who wear Chuck Taylor
sneakers and who identify with the brand’s ideals of “Creativity, self expression and cultural understanding”. Chucks
are so alluring that even someone as anti-product
like rebel-pop artist M.I.A
. today endorses it. And just when you thought there was no scope for product placement in fantasy and historical epics; think again. Marketing wizardry landed Converse on two sturdy feet; Converse
is also the only recognisable fashion brand to tread the stony moving stairs at Hogwarts
and also astonishingly in the Sofia Coppola’s
artsy period epic Marie Antoinette
continue to collaborate on a range of artist signature
shoes with Billie Joe Armstrong
of Green Day
. Other rock star collaborations of the iconic shoes are the Kurt Cobain
signature shoe and a range honouring the punk pioneers; the Ramones
shoe. Long before Nike
became the most prolific footwear product placement( Aliens, Back to the future
etc) The Beatles(pictured above)
and Beach boys
toured wearing Converse
.NBC’s TV series lead character Chuck Bartowski
from NBC’s Chuck
wears Chuck Taylors.
Creepy huh? Across the pond, Converse
is also featured in the last Doctor Who
season, played by David Tennant
. The sheer beauty of Converse
is it’s strange unifying ability, it looks good on anyone any age, any sex, any sexual orientation,any race and with any kind of clothing.Sylvester Stallone
trains in black Converse
throughout 1976’s Rocky.
Openly lesbian Ellen DeGeneres
dances in Chuck Taylors on her talk show and on the red carpet. Natalie Portman, Kirsten Dunst, Elijah Wood, Kristen Stewart
are other stars frequently seen to wear them. The company’s 2008 Connectivity anniversary ad campaign featured James Dean, the Sex Pistols’ Sid Vicious
, hip-hop artist M.I.A
. and others.Acclaimed designer John Varvatos designs an entire range of premium Chuck Taylors.
I used to wear a dazzling white ankle high Converse pair as a child till about the age of 8. But only rediscovered Converse four years ago; and have worn them religiously ever since. My blood red pair has caused much heartbreak and shock at my rather conservative church. The little boy in me squealed deep inside with relish, at my rather laughable and pitiable rebellious act; but what the heck.Converse has diversified into successful clothing and accessories range, its iconic Chuck Taylors will be in vogue for many years to come. And am guessing by Converse’s previous track record, the prom range will do well too.
An example of Converse product placement (quite obvious) with shock and horror, dialogue endorsement as well, but it was a very successful campaign.
And the controversial pair of pink-blue All Star Converse trainers in period epic Marie Antionette