Make Marketing History

The views of a marketing deviant.

Friday, June 10, 2022

Make Marketing Unexploitative.



These are Maite Rodriguez's green high-top Converse. The ones she customized with a heart drawn on the toe. The ones she was wearing when she was murdered in the Uvalde school shooting. And, most shockingly of all, the ones that were the only way her ten-year-old body could be identified.

Subsequently there has been a surge in demand for the shoes. People are sending them to their political representatives. People are wearing them to protest. People are also noticing that Converse will be making a lot of money from this demand and are suggesting that they donate some or all of the profits to victim support or to gun control causes (perhaps not realising that their parent company has provided funding to NRA-supporting politicians in the past). People are suggesting that they be renamed after Maite and that they be produced with a heart on the toe.

Converse are faced with an opportunity. And a dilemma.  What do they do? Do they act and risk being accused of commercial exploitation of a tragedy? Or do they wait and risk being accused of indifference?

Maybe the best they can do is to avoid looking exploitative while not remaining indifferent. Acknowledging  the increased demand and guaranteeing  they will meet it as quickly as possible seems to me to be the obvious starting point. As does announcing they will be giving the profits to an appropriate charity to be agreed with Maite's parents when they are willing and able to contemplate such decisions.

It's very easy for the people to say what Converse should do as if it's obvious. It's not. This is not a product recall. It's so much more than that.