When it comes to viral marketing, Nike may very well be one of the best of the big boys. Whether it's creative uses of Charlie Murphy, or having Kobe Bryant "jump over" a moving car, Nike's marketing department is incredibly sharp, and their latest venture doesn't disappoint, either. Remember those awesome self-lacing shoes from Back to the Future II?
You know the ones I'm referring to, but if not, allow this to serve as a refresher:
"Power laces! Alright!"
It seems as if those self-lacing shoes are about to become a reality, and the word is being spread on a viral basis as Nike wants to stoke the fires of anticipation before they launch the 2011 Air Mags. Apparently, the shoes will be available tomorrow (Friday, September 9th), and as indicated, the buzz for Nike's power-laced shoes is building.
The viral aspect began in earnest when Frank Marshall, the executive producer on all three Back to the Future movies, started tweeting these ambiguous pieces of bait:
Of course, when you throw the idea of hoverboards out there, it's hard not to get excited at the mere possibility, but since our scientific community has yet to master anti-gravity as a means of transportation -- at least, on a consumer level -- we know that's still a pipe dream.
Self-lacing shoes, on the other hand, are not.
Nike's already patented a self-lacing shoe construct, and now, it appears as if they are ready to unleash these beasts on the rest of the world. But first, the marketing aspect has to kick in, and thanks to the viral nature of the web, Nike's "Power laces! Alright!" shoes are now buzzing.
Nike has also released a promotional video for the Air Mags, and it's vague enough to be considered a viral offering. To wit, the video is called "McFly's Closet," as if to provide a hint where Nike is leaning:
Furthermore, the video upload is attributed to DocEmmettBrown88, which should also help clue people in about the inspiration for the shoes, which are awfully close to becoming a reality. There's even an invitation-only event for the launch, and the invites feature something Back to the Future fans should instantly recognize: Doc Brown's awesome sun shades.
Next time, when NBC is trying to figure out how to build positive buzz for a new product, something they failed at with the upcoming Whitney mess, perhaps they'll take some lessons from Nike's marketing department.
Nike has a press release concerning the shoes, and if any of you have any inclinations of acquiring a pair, get ready to flex some eBay skills. According to Nike:
1500 pairs of the 2011 NIKE MAG will be auctioned on eBay with all net proceeds going directly to The Michael J. Fox Foundation. Each day for the duration of the ten-day auction, one hundred and fifty pairs of the 2011 NIKE MAG shoes will be made available via eBay’s Fashion Vault. The auction starts September 8, 8:30PM PST, and will end September 18. Thanks to a previous 50 million dollar match given to the Michael J. Fox Foundation, all donations will be matched, effectively doubling the contributions from the auction.
While Nike says eBay's Fashion Vault is where the charity auction will take place,
there's nothing on the page to indicate it the auction is now active. There is, however, a video of the shoes, which, I'm sad to report, will not have the power lace system.
Still, power laces or not, the shoe is pretty awesome to look at, and it supports a good cause.