Just Don’t Do It

While I smirked at the transparent publicity-hounding of Nike’s store-you-can’t-go-in-unless-you’re-cool-enough when I first saw it a few weeks ago, I figured it couldn’t work; no one’d fall for it and actually care because–hello!–it’s such an obvious stunt. I mean, the craptrap restaurant Jekyll & Hyde on 57th & 6th never lets people in immediately, either, but lines them up on the street. If tourist maroons fell for it, I always figured New Yorkers could spot a Barnum-level manipulation a block away. I guess I was wrong.
In this week’s NYT Magazine, a writer accompanies three celebrities in whose reflected glow NikeID wished to bask: an artist, a designer, and an NBA shoe salesman. [Never mind that the whole thing is fraught wtih publicist-paper complicity issues. This ain’t On The Media, folks, and I have a lot of room to talk, anyway, what with the Times picking up about a quarter of my Jamba Juice tab each month.]
What I got from the Times piece, though, was how hermetic NikeID’s own design concept for customization turns out to be, and how thoroughly at odds it is with the influencers and outside creatives’ tastes. I mean, “despite some gentle urging from the design consultants,” Vince Carter replicated the archetypal Nike shoe–white with a Carolina Blue swoosh–and both Sarah Morris and Narciso Rodriguez chose monochrome designs; Morris even chose the putty grey sample shoe.
Customizing Nikes is to expressing your individual creativity what rhythmic gymnastics is to sports. Whatever the people who actually do it obsessively say, most sensible people can see it for what it is after a couple of colorful swooshes.

Just Do It Yourself
Note: this post was inspired by Jen’s inspired takedown on Unbeige