SBD/11/Sponsorships Advertising Marketing

OAKLEY'S NEW SNEAKERS: REVOLUTIONARY OR REVENGEFUL?

          On Tuesday, Oakley will introduce a new, domestically-
     produced sneaker that "seems destined to be viewed either as
     masterstroke or fiasco," according to Starr & Kaufman of
     NEWSWEEK.  While Oakley's new sneaker "is about trying to
     seize a marketing opportunity," it's also about "a clash of
     giant egos, a corporate grudge match pitting" Oakley against
     Nike and Oakley Founder & Chair Jim Jannard against his
     former friend, Nike Founder & Chair Phil Knight.  Jannard
     noted that his company's decision to enter the shoe market
     came after Nike's decision to manufacturer its own line of
     eyewear: "I marvel that they would risk our relationship to
     go after part of a $200 million business against the
     possibility of us going after a share of a $5 billion
     business.  It showed a great amount of disrespect.  They
     obviously didn't take us seriously" (NEWSWEEK, 5/18 issue). 
          SHOES YOU CAN USE? Jannard says Oakley has designed a
     "technically better shoe, more consistent in sizing with
     improved support and protection."  But Starr & Kaufman write
     that "few in the industry are as impressed with [Oakley] as
     it is with itself," and add that "many think Oakley's shoe
     is a misguided, perhaps even suicidal, potion driven by
     little beyond Jannard's ego."  Marketing the shoe "will be
     tricky," since many of Oakley's "big-name" eyewear endorsers
     already have footwear deals.  In addition, Oakley plans no
     major ad campaigns around the new product and so far "has
     mustered a rather limited distribution network" of only
     about 200 stores nationwide (NEWSWEEK, 5/18 issue).

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Nike, Oakley

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