Well, up to a point. I only watched a little bit of the material in what seems to be a pretty extensive pile of Converse mini-movies. In a way, the content echoes the brand’s earlier strategy of getting fans to make ads on the brand’s behalf — but these seem pretty obviously to be pro jobs. The one I watched some of, Out Of Your League Girl, seemed, to be honest, pretty lame. I got bored really fast. But maybe the target demo will be into this.
Who is the target demo? I’m not really sure. Teenagers or Gen-Yers, maybe? I have no idea what kind of relevance Converse has in that world these days. I will say that every single marketer I talk to now has some kind of rationale for why the 18-24 demo is super-relevant to their brand.
Whatever. In any case, my overall impression of the site is that Converse seems to be trying a little too hard. I more or less agree with Eyecube’s take, but would differ with it in two ways. First, I wouldn’t call this the Nike-ization of Converse — if that were true, the ads would be kick-ass and hard to ignore. This stuff is really, really easy to ignore.
Second, I actually think the One Star spinoff selling in Target (noted by Eyecube) is probably not a bad idea. I’ve noticed it as I walk through my local Target, and I can kind of imagine that if I were still a Converse guy, I might pick up a pair of these. They’re funny, because they’re kind of like Converse knockoffs — they look like Chucks, but, upon closer inspection, they clearly aren’t. And if you’re going to go with this kind of strategy, Target is a good venue: Thanks to its (inexplicable) rep as a haven for “good design for the masses” or whatever it is, there’s not nearly the same risk of brand damage as putting the exact same products in, say, K Mart.
That said, my broad impression of Converse over the past year or so is that they’re trying really, really hard. Surely you’ve read about things like the Kurt Cobain sneaker, for instance. And I honestly don’t get it. My totally unreported and uninformed outsider guess is that there’s some kind of identity crisis going on as to what they’re trying to do and for whom, and they’re just running through a period of throwing everything but the kitchen sink at the question.
Then again, I thought those Varvatos no-laces low-tops were ridiculous — and they seemed to sell like crazy. Possibly the die-hard Chucks fan just tunes out all this static and keeps getting a fresh pair of the classics? So the emphasis is on figuring out how to bring in a) kids who see Converse as a fuddy-duddy brand, and b) the more casual sneaker-consumer who might pass through Target but wouldn’t bother to visit Foot Locker.
Could work. My whisper-y sources say involvement from the Nike mothership is growing, not fading, and personally, I never bet against Nike.