New Profane K-Swiss MFCEO Kenny Powers: Will He Sell Sneakers by Keeping K-Swiss Top of Mind?
Xenophon Strategies / PRGN, Washington, DC/USA, 24.08.2011
Waszyngtońska agencja Xenophon Strategies o najnowszej, kontrowersyjnej kampanii promocyjnej K-Swiss.
If you haven’t heard, there’s a new MFCEO at K-Swiss. His name, Kenny Powers (actor Danny McBride of HBO’s “Eastbound & Down”). And he’s brought a new profound (and profane) attitude to the shoe company – one that has stirred up conversations on social media and raised questions on whether the new (viral) advertising campaign will actually sell shoes. More specifically, will the campaign sell K-Swiss’s new line of shoes, Tubes, through its comedy as branding efforts?
A colleague of mine noted in a recent blog post that “there is no such thing as bad publicity.” And over the past few days, K-Swiss, Kenny Powers and his new team of associates including Matt Cassel, Jillian Michaels, Rey Mysterio and more, have been getting all the publicity traditional and social media can muster. Within the past 10 days, K-Swiss’s popularity on social media has increased by nearly 600 percent according to our internal data, and on average, has been mentioned every 17 seconds.
Outlets such as CNN, CBS, Huffington Post and more have discussed the campaign, and Twitter and blogs are full of praises for the MFCEO of K-Swiss.
Not bad considering the campaign won’t even air nationally until ESPN's 19th Annual ESPY awards.
But the viral video has raised questions about the company’s viability in a shoe market that is dominated by brands like Nike, Adidas and Reebok that make billions every year. In comparison, K-Swiss is expected to bring in sales of just over $280 million.
Can a lesser-known company, although established since 1966, break away from its traditional and conservative reputation of being an upscale shoe for older customers? The company thought so and began advertising to a younger market and changed its image in the 1990s by incorporating hip-hop themes and using professional athletes in its commercials, and making inventories limited on store shelves. As a result, sales increased from $116 million in 1996 to $162 million in 1998.
It was last summer too when K-Swiss introduced Kenny Powers, the fictional overweight and former baseball player from “Eastbound & Down,” (produced by Will Ferrell) as the company’s spokesperson for the K-Swiss Tubes and attempted to change its reputation again by using comedy as branding to generate publicity and sales. But K-Swiss went further than any “conservative” company has before, by doing a complete 180 and using a rude and crude fictional spokesperson.
It seemed to work. For the first quarter of 2011, K-Swiss’s Tubes sold approximately 246,000 pairs, overtaking the company’s traditional shoe which sold 184,000 pairs.
Can this increase in sales be attributed to Kenny Powers and K-Swiss’s new efforts in marketing? Maybe.
Or can it be contributed to K-Swiss’s manufacturing of a quality tennis shoe? Also, maybe.
Only sales will tell.
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