Friday, April 1, 2011

New Cheech & Chong Shoe Intersects Brand and Culture for Nike

We all know Nike. It's one of those ubiquitous brands that transcends race, gender, class, age or sport.  From the Michael Jordan basketball ads of yesterday to the simple "Just do it" branding ads aimed at encouraging people to be active, Nike advertising consistently delivers on passion and emotion - connecting imagery and icons with ease.

Just how far will Nike go to connect with its potential customers is evidenced with its new Nike SB Dunk High 420 Cheech & Chong shoe, a skateboarding shoe with a lot of hype around it and rightfully so.  From the name itself to the marijuana-green laces, this is a shoe that is obviously designed to attract some attention. Sources say Nike plans to produce just 1,000 pairs of the Cheech & Chong shoes -  certainly driving the cost demand for such a product through the roof. Some similar niche shoes created by Nike in the past have commanded hundreds of dollars.

I'm interested in your opinion here. Should Nike, a global brand representing athletes in virtually every sport on the planet be promoting a shoe so obviously associated with smoking pot? Personal views aside, isn't this product a little skewed from Nike's inspirational, encouraging "Just do it" tagline? That is unless Just do it also embodies the meaning of Just do drugs. So please share your thoughts: is this a harmless campaign aimed at connecting Nike with pot-smoking skateboarding aficianadios or a campaign that advocates pot-smoking among young adults, who are generally the individuals into skate-boarding?