Steve & Barry's courts ballers with Starbury sneaker launch

In launching Starbury One, a sneaker branded by the New York Knicks' Stephon Marbury, Steve & Barry's had to get the savvy, urban-dwelling "sneakerhead" to buy into a $14.98 shoe.

In launching Starbury One, a sneaker branded by the New York Knicks' Stephon Marbury, Steve & Barry's had to get the savvy, urban-dwelling "sneakerhead" to buy into a $14.98 shoe.

"We had to get the core audiences - recreational ballers and urban community kids - to embrace the fact that a $14.98 professional-quality shoe could deliver the comfort, stability, and durability they demand," said Howard Schacter, chief partnership officer at Steve & Barry's, the producer and exclusive retail outlet of the shoe.

Idea: Steve & Barry's decided to hand out shoes to athletes playing in summer basketball camps and tournaments, without mentioning price. Targeting a group that will shell out hundreds of dollars for sneakers, Schacter said the company feared price point alone would turn the athletes off. After they learned where the shoe would be available and for what price, he said, "it shocked everybody, and little by little, we unveiled more information and built buzz among the communities and audiences we wanted to reach."

Tools: "We did product feeding, a promotional Web site, and some limited, but very targeted advertising in urban and basketball publications, such as Dime, Slam, XXL, and Complex," Schacter said. "The key was feeding the market." Also, Steve & Barry's 140 US retail locations will have Starbury Rooms featuring the Starbury sneaker and apparel line. Starbury.com launched in early June.

Measurement: Schacter said the company will measure the success of the campaign through sales. It will also conduct attitude and awareness studies to measure impact on the Steve & Barry's brand.

Organization:  Steve & Barry's
Campaign:  The Starbury Collection
PR team:  Internal PR staff, The Mastermind Group, and Bratskeir PR
Other marketing:  Print ad campaign
Launched:  August 17
Budget:  Undisclosed

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