‘The brand that spells trouble’
An article in Guardian Weekend struck a chord – ‘What is it about Foot Locker?’
We can all remember a yearning to own a pair of the latest trendiest trainers, but is the brand’s advertising strategy of tapping into this desire taking things a step too far?
Recent campaigns feature a youth being knocked unconscious for dirtying a hallowed pair of new white sneakers. Young men and women make orgasmic faces as they try on new trainers. Ads read ‘The sneakers he wears communicate a million more messages than his mobile. He makes sure nothing gets in their way’.
The target customer is male aged 12 -20, a group where status, hierarchy and peer pressure is prevalent. The target market has low disposable income. The product is must-have high fashion footwear costing between £30 - £170. Profit margins and marketing budgets are high, meaning the target market is healthily fuelled with desire for the next pair of high fashion trainers.
Perhaps not coincidental then, that in times of economic decline and high levels of youth unemployment, in last years riots, Foot Locker was singled out. Looting has taken place in many other countries worldwide.
Alex Hiller, Nottingham Business School, comments “When consumerism turns criminal, sometimes there is an element of resentment. If they can’t buy those things they’ve got to find other ways of acquiring them” This viewpoint is backed up by social media posts such as “Foot Locker have been feeding on us for a long time…now a lil pay back”.
Whilst staying true to a brand’s roots is desirable, when this causes tension with economic reality, maybe a change of tact is required. Or is there really no such thing as bad publicity?