Foot Locker takes an unusual approach to selling J. Wall’s shoe. John Wall is a basketball star for the Washington Wizards.
Like most ads for signature shoes, this one ignores the qualities of the shoe itself. Viewers are shown the shoe but take it on faith that, given Wall’s endorsement, the shoe has what they want in an athletic shoe.
And, like most ads for signature shoes, this one offers potential buyers the opportunity to participate in persona of a famous athlete. In a small way, buyers can become J. Wall when they put on the shoes.
But this ad parts company with other ads for signature shoes because the ad doesn’t spend time reminding viewers of J. Wall’s amazing ability.
Instead, viewers watch as J. Wall listens to the humorously told story of the stereotypical rise and fall of an athletic hero from signature shoes and instant wealth to financial trouble and serving as a used car spokesperson. The “pick and roll” spoof ad for a used car dealer is wonderful.
Viewers also learn that J. Wall intends to make sure that he doesn’t follow that path.
So by wearing J. Wall shoes, buyers can participate in the persona of a famous athlete who realizes the potentially fleeting nature of his fame and fortune. That may not be what someone wants to feel when they lace up their athletic shoes.
Yes, the ad is amusing and insightful. But buyers are looking to buy into more than an amusing and insightful persona when buying athletic shoes.