Sneakers have long been a product mass-produced by large corporations, but Customatix.com is trying to give them some personality.
An upcoming campaign by San Francisco agency Odiorne Wilde Narraway & Partners hypes the new company, which allows consumers to design and order their own personalized pairs of athletic footwear or boots online.
The only obstacle for the agency: working under what officials there described as "a Blair Witch kind of budget." So the agency is starting with a modest print, guerrilla marketing and Internet campaign that's anchored by an anti-corporate message.
The print campaign will break in July in niche publications such as music and action sports magazines.
Tom Kelley, who works on new-business development at OWN&P, said the ads are meant to attract younger buyers who are unfazed by established brands.
"This is a big idea that is working on a couple of a different fronts," Kelley said. "[Customatix.com's leaders] are people who left Nike and Adidas [and] who wanted to do a company their own way. The focus of the company is on creativity, not athletic performance."
The print ads are low on visuals but not on attitude--with bold text containing such slogans as "Shoes designed by you. Not the corporate Mafia."
"One of the challenges is not to let marketing get in the way of the idea. ... This is a vote for personal expression and against the mainstream brands," Kelley said.
The campaign could be expanded over time if it proves successful, Kelley added.