Nike and Adidas were fighting head to head over who had the rights to sell knit sneakers around the world. Adidas won the court injunction, but Nike seems to have the more popular shoe; maybe due in part to publicity stunts like this one:
Yup. If someone had told me that Nike had “knit” a giant sneaker on the side of a Shanghai building, I’m not sure if I would have believed them. But since it’s on YouTube, it must have really happened.
(Tangential note: Nike just discovered variegated yarn….)
Nike’s not the only one using knitting as part of a publicity campaign. This past November 26 through December 6, Budweiser UK set up a knitting machine which cranked out Budweiser/Christmas/”Celebrate Responsibility” themed pullovers in response to tweets with the hashtag #jumpers4des. The more tweets, the more a computer chip inside the machine would tell the machine would knit.
What really caught my eye is the steam-punk case they’ve built around one of these hi-tech industrial knitting machines. It also kills me that in all the releases I’ve read so far, none were titled “Budweiser’s Twitter Knitter”. The Daily Mail totally missed out.
It’s kind of an interesting change of view coming from the world of publicity and advertising, which finally seems to have realized that the word “knitting” is both a noun and a verb. Using active knitting to reach out to consumers about a passive piece of knitting, whether a shoe or a sweater, places the skill and technology behind both in the mainstream public consciousness.
Equally worthy of consideration, however, is the misrepresentation of knitting by both Nike and Budweiser. Sweaters do not drop off of machines, or knitting needles for that matter, blocked and sewn and washed and ready for wear. Assembly is required. And the strips used on Nike’s billboard are a far cry from every yarn, thread, or string I’ve ever seen.
So, I’m making a mountain out of a molehill. Chalk it up to my enthusiasm at seeing knitting in places I would have never dreamed. Plus, it makes me happy to think of all the Shanghai-ese and Budweiser customers who are now slightly more familiar with one of my favorite things. Even in an unconventional manner.
Happy Knitting Everyone!
- Complex.Com – Nike Giant Shoe Ad
- Psfk.com – Nike Knit Billboard
- Designtaxi.com – Nike Knits A Giant Shoe On A Billboard In Shanghai