As many of you probably already know, TheTruth.com has taken a different route in their anti-smoking campaign. They have created commercials showing celebrities smoking cigarettes and are referring to them as an unpaid tobacco spokesperson. They put an emphasis on the word “unpaid” to express the free advertising that big tobacco companies are gaining because of them. I honestly thought this was a clever and highly effective attack on the tobacco industry due to the fact that countless people reflect the actions and behaviors of their famed idols.
After seeing this ad over and over again I started to think about the power of free advertisement through celebrities and the vast benefits companies gain from them. Immediately the sneaker industry came to mind. The sneaker industry is a multibillion dollar industry that thrives off of trends, fads and most importantly, celebrity spotlights. Its understood that watching athletes perform in their signature footwear is going to make consumers buy them and the same can be said for celebrities; the only difference is that the athletes are sponsored and the majority of the celebrities are not. For example Nike recently came out with their Flyknit sneaker technology which enhances athletic performance while creating a light and comfortable experience. A popular shoe that used the technology was the Flyknit Trainer + which was offered at a retail price of $150. The shoe came in several different colors and was doing great on the market, but one day a specific color reigned supreme over the rest. The white and black Flyknit Trainer + became the hottest flyknit shoe on the market and the reason is simply due to a celebrity.
Kanye West was caught sporting these sneakers and because of that they became one of the hottest commodities in the sneaker world. Originally priced at $150 these sneakers can now only be found online through 3rd party retailers for about $450. A simple shoe that was meant for running became an icon in an instant due to free advertising, and we all know that Nike knows that too.