New Balance 365: Is it Sneaker Overkill?

9 Mar

New Balance is shining the spotlight on its new spring and summer shoe collection through a series of daily short-films.  Will the move bring the collection fame or will the overexposure prove to be career suicide?

“New Balance 365,” as the campaign is called, is an extension of the company’s previous campaign, 574 Clips, which featured a Polaroid and video for each of its 574 handmade sneakers.  Mother New York, a renowned independent shop, developed both campaigns.

The 365 Campaign began on February 22nd and will run for the entirety of 2010 and will feature a new short film daily.  The films are the brainchildren of Swedish film director Jesper Koothoofd.

New Balance hopes the campaign will increase customer engagement through its daily interaction.

According to Steve Gardner, New Balance Lifestyle’s strategic business manager, the campaign will be judged based on “unique visitors per month, video views, and time spent on NewBalance365.com.”

Users can view the shorts online or via Iphone.  The Iphone application serves as a daily alarm that allows viewers to begin everyday with a fresh film.

New Balance seems to think that the success of the first film campaign, New Balance 574, will translate into another profitable marketing strategy.  But the reason the New Balance 574 campaign worked was its novelty.

New Balance 365 seems like a mere imitation of New Balance 574.  Perhaps the company hopes to more heavily promote what it deemed a recipe for success for the previous collection.  Perhaps, the company views its specific I-phone application that allows users to set the daily film as a wake-up alarm and also offers users a tracking system of sleeping patterns is a big enough differentiator to justify a second deployment of short films.
Perhaps, the company is convinced that the idea, in itself, is enough to gain traction and excitement around the new collection and that, given the chance, the campaign could be legendary.

Perhaps.

But in order for the campaign to be successful, it must have wide circulation.  The content of the films cannot be limited to the New Balance website.  Even the best ideas are worthless without others viewing and recognizing their greatness.

New Balance must seek viral-status.  It must contact shoeheads through shoe blogging sites, discretely of course–paying off a blogger or two to direct traffic to the daily videos.  It must purchase a couple of television slots during peak hours showcasing a stunning video to direct traffic to the site.  It must work with retailers to  have the short films aired in the stores as the customers mill about.

It must create buzz.

Otherwise, this campaign will be merely a  sad sequel of the first–another ingenious idea trapped within the cage of its own creation.

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