Sneaker enthusiasts aren’t just men, but we’d never know that based on the product design and selection. In fact, collecting sneakers can be both a passion as well as a lucrative business, for both women and men. Limited edition sneakers can be sold for thousands of dollars more than originally paid and collectors are highly competitive when trying to get the latest trainers!
Although sneakers aren’t just for men, sizes and styles definitely tend to favor the males. While athletic shoe trainers might seem to be unisex, men’s sizes do not fit women’s feet. (Ask students if they would wear sneakers built for the opposite gender.) No longer is it ok to just make a product pink and narrow in order to get women to buy it. Today’s women want the same sneakers that are available for men.
To help showcase the topic, the founders of Purple Unicorn Planet developed a Web site that showcases cool men’s style sneakers, and encourages women and men to tweet their need for change. The founders’ main statement: “Somewhere in Swoosh Central, there’s been an oversight.” Their goal is to influence companies to make more of the male trainers available to females. Using a unique Twitter campaign, the founders hope to influence not only Nike, but other athletic shoe makers to make the same colors available to females.
Group Activities and Discussion Questions:
- Discuss the differences between genders when developing products and marketing campaigns. What is similar for men and women? Different?
- To learn more about sneakerheads, show the video on sneaker collectors: http://youtu.be/9QNsOy-b5Pw
- View the Purple Unicorn Planet Web site: http://purpleunicornplanet.com/
- Discuss the marketing strategy grid with respect to this topic. What products and markets could be used in each section of the grid relative to this topic?
- Are there examples of other products that are targeted to one gender more than the other? What is the opportunity that is being missed by companies? What can be done to expand to a new target market?
- Divide students into teams. Have each team select a product usually bought by one gender, and redesign the product and campaign for the other gender.