Tuesday, June 26

The Adidas Cuff Sneaker


This is certainly not the first time I am writing on this topic, and it certainly won't be the last time that's for sure.  Simply put, brands have got to get used to the court of social media public opinion.  Our marketing efforts and new product launches are being instantly judged and shared, sometimes before we even know it, on social media.  And often our marketing becomes more newsworthy than our brand itself.

Of course the smart brands recognize this and test the waters.

Now I don't know this for sure, but it appears that's exactly what Adidas did with its new cuff sneaker designed by Jeremy Scott.  Jeremy Scott is known for his out-of-the-box designs and has done previous work with Adidas, but none that made quick headlines quite like this one.

The Adidas Cuff sneaker.

The brand released details of this new product a few months ago, and no one noticed.  In preparation for the upcoming August launch, the brand started promoting it heavily on Facebook and that's when the crowd kicked in.

Instantly, comments about images of slavery started rolling in.  So much so that the brand cancelled the launch and we now have another brand enter the social media 2012 Hall of Fame, right along Burger King, Nike, Huggies, and Marie Callender.  It's been quite the year for brands on social media!

The question is .... Was the brand simply crowd sourcing to get feedback or did it really innocently under  estimate the reaction?

We probably will never know ... what's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
President, Cohn & Wolfe North America
Author, The Experience Effect series
Professor, NYU

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