Gladys Santiago

The Kool-Aid Man has a foot fetish

Posted in Branding, Fashion, Sneakers by Gladys Santiago on February 20, 2008

Reebok couldn’t release a decent pair of sneakers if the instructions were written on the heel.  The company’s latest attempt at whetting the palates of sneaker collectors is an ill-conceived collaboration with Kool-Aid.  Their line of Kool-Aid scented sneakers, which are available in grape, cherry, and strawberry, was released earlier this month.  For the burgeoning fashion victims fashionistas that enjoy coordinating their outfits, matching hoodies, hats and t-shirts are available and will most likely be hitting the clearance rack the second they’re unloded off the truck. 

If these sneakers were geared towards children, I’d forgive the bright colors and figure Reebok is capitalizing on their love of sugary, artificially flavored drinks.  However, the Kool-Aid kicks are part of the company’s 2008 “Your Move” campaign, which tries way too hard to portray Reebok as a brand that embraces individuality.  Granted, I’m not all that familiar with Reebok or its products, but I have seen a couple of its recent spots, and I must say, the ads are definitely lacking authenticity. 

Reebok is obviously trying create a space for itself among sneaker heads, but it fails to realize sneaker-collecting culture was created by the consumers.  Nike, Adidas and Puma know this and are able to make campaigns that come across as collaborative, not phony.  Another reason why Reebok will never be fully embraced by collectors is its lack of a solid brand identity and history.  Several years ago it rebranded itself as RBK, a move that reminds me of KFC’s disturbing (and somewhat true) urban legend.  It’s really hard to establish a long-term relationship with a company that undergoes identity crises and encourages shoe-sniffing. 

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