Our First question: Is it wise for Converse to stake a flag in a century of American culture and claim it for themselves? Has it really been "the Converse Century?" If we're talking about athletes, one could easily make a claim that the shoe offered some functional benefits and had an impact on the game of basketball. But a parade of rock stars wearing the shoes is not a convincing argument that Converse played some role or their kicks contain some bit of essential rock mojo.
How about this instead: Chuck Taylor All-Stars are cheap and match almost anything. Those are qualities that appeal to everyone, from me to MIA.
Our Second question: Is it wise for a brand to dig up dead celebrities for posthumous endorsements? I'm not saying the company or its agency, Anomaly, didn't get permission from Ian Curtis's estate, but this smacks of opportunism even if it isn't intended to be. We're not just talking about licensing "Love Will Tear Us Apart," this is using the actual person Ian Curtis, who lived, breathed, suffered and took his own life. It's a tacky move and should offend anyone who respects his work.
What's lacking in this campaign is humility. Converse has every right to be proud that so many influential people have worn their shoes and every right to highlight this fact. But coupled with some revisionist history, the result feels like a giant corporate hand getting grease stains all over our record collections. Instead of cultural ownership, Converse should have stressed participation.
Maybe once we see more of the executions -- there are some grabs out there -- we'll change our minds.
[Via press release]