Who knew photos could be footwear? Nike did.
The Beaverton, OR-based apparel giant saw Polaroid’s popular i-Zone instant pocket cameras as a hook to reach teens, so it designed a shoe with a window on the upper lip to hold i-Zone photos.
When Nike brought these 21st century penny loafers to Polaroid’s group promotions manager Jill Wonoski, she was taken aback. “I told them, ‘I need more than the shoe. I love your brand name, but this is the weirdest shoe I’ve ever seen.’” Wonoski flew to Nike headquarters to watch focus group videotapes. “Nike put seven shoes in front of these kids and they immediately went to the one with the picture, every time.” That sold Wonoski and her team.
Nike Runamok Pic sneakers hit Niketown, Journeys, and some Foot Locker stores nationally in April. Nike created P-O-P displays to showcase cameras and film alongside the shoes. That opens up specialty and shoe stores to Polaroid, whose traditional channels are food, drug, mass merch, photo, and toy stores. In exchange, i-Zone sticker film packs carry a Nike-branded shoe clip that carries a photo and attaches to any shoe. Polaroid handles its promo efforts in-house; Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, handles print ad support.
A Best Friends Search contest with Seventeen Magazine supported Runamok Pic’s launch. Kids entered their photos during events at four Journeys stores this spring and summer; top winner will appear in Seventeen.
Nike wasn’t the first one to pitch Polaroid on i-Zone apparel. Last year, British apparel maker Holy Poly started selling shirts with pockets for photos at Top Shop stores in the U.K., then came to Polaroid to officially add the i-Zone brand. This year Polaroid’s site, i-zone.com, added a link to HolyPoly.com so U.S. kids can buy the shirts too.
Polaroid promotes all i-Zone licensed products — keychains, frames, photo journals — on its site. A line of jewelry including pins, pendants, wristbands, and sweatbands bowed recently.
Licensed goodies “help us increase film use, which is a key objective for the brand,” says manager-new business development Wendy Simes. “It also extends I-Zone as a teen lifestyle brand, and provides teens with a venue for creativity.”
It helps them get dressed, too.