Encouraging graffiti may be an unusual marketing idea - not to mention one that could get overzealous artists arrested - but it's one that has generated tremendous attention for Converse and its Chuck Taylor All Star sneaker. And it earns Converse the first-ever PRWeek 'PR Play of the Week' award.
With the theme of 'Just Rubber and a Blank Canvas,' Converse appealed to the public's artistic side by blanketing New York and Los Angeles with thousands of blank posters and encouraging people to make an artistic statement.
So how does this relate to the sneakers? When Converse began discussing the Chuck Taylors with Dallas ad agency Pyro, the company hit upon the obvious - namely, that the shoes really were just rubber and canvas, and that any promotional effort should focus on their simplicity. Rogers & Cowan was then brought in to implement the PR part of the effort.
Converse director of PR Hal Worsham said that the canvases, which were put up last week, will be monitored to ensure that those with, uh, 'unfavorable' comments or pictures will be removed. 'We trust our consumers to use this as a real artistic opportunity,' he said. The canvases will be refreshed monthly, and the campaign will run through June.
To draw more attention to the shoes, Converse partnered with drDrew.com, which is outfitting the cast and crew of a new reality-based Web program with Chuck Taylors. At a House of Blues VIP party in LA last week, the blank canvases were offered up to celebs such as Tommy Lee, Rachel Hunter and Coolio, all of whom left their personality on display (for better or for worse).
Nominations for 'PR Play of the Week,' which can be anything from an old-fashioned stunt to a company's handling of a crisis to a celebrity's tear-stained mea culpa, should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than noon on Wednesday for the next week's issue.