Angela Natividad's Live & Uncensored!

03 April 2008

Converse Shoots for Authenticity, Scores in Artifice

Converse, the quintessential anti-sports-shoe sneaker brand, recently tapped "anti-ad agency" Anomaly for some anti-advertising advertising. In one spot, the following words appear (à la Star Wars) against the backdrop of a just-crowned beauty queen:

"Why are we sitting and watching I Wanna Be the Galaxy's Best Supernova Diva Star? Dutifully phoning in our votes for the next big thing while we wait on our couches to die." It preaches on about democracy, thinking for yourself, seizing the day before you're dead, etc. See the other spot here.

Copyranter's not impressed.

The problem with this smarmy anti-ad stuff is it assumes advertising is inauthentic by definition. That's not true. Like a person, a brand has a dynamic personality with central values that consumers expect it to always reflect, no matter how often it changes its hair.

When a brand is fully confident in who it is, and that vibe resonates in the advertising, you've got what I'd call a truly authentic campaign. A confident brand doesn't have to pander for inclusion in a clique; it sets the bar, and the cool kids come running. Think Apple, Starbucks in the '90s and Ivy League sweaters.

Converse doesn't have to trash pop culture to look authentic. It has a long, interesting history and a product that resonates with lots of different people. Recent campaigns (1, 2) suggest Converse knows that. All it needs to do is stick with it and let the message evolve naturally.

Weigh in on Converse's anti-marketing ad campaign at this poll by Copyranter.

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