Ad Women Battle Nike Over Sneaker Designs

Demand men's shoes for women

Emily Hodgson and Emilie Riis, staffers at London ad agency 18 Feet & Rising, have harnessed the awesome global power of the Internet for its ultimate purpose—pestering Nike. They've created Purple Unicorn Planet, a site that at first glance seems to sell various Nike training shoes. In fact, clicking on sneakers yields a message informing you that Nike doesn't make those shoes in women's sizes. The Emilies urge you to share a letter of protest with Nike (it begins, "Somewhere in Swoosh Central, there's been an oversight"). There's also a Twitter feed, @PunicornP, and hashtag, #PleaseJustDoIt, because everything has to have a Twitter feed and hashtag these days. Why not simply buy some other company's shoes? Or, if they're dead-set on wearing Nike Air Safaris, just saw off the toes? "The open-toe look isn't in this season," Hodgson tells AdFreak. Riis adds: "We saw a gap in the market and we want cooler trainers in girls' sizes. We are both huge Nike fans and love their men's designs, so that's why we are focusing on Nike." They swear the campaign isn't intended to generate buzz for themselves or their agency, but that's what's happened, so I guess it's all good. "We haven't heard from Nike. Yet," says Riis. The company might respond eventually, but I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for that shoe to drop.

@DaveGian David Gianatasio is a longtime contributor to Adweek, where he has been a writer and editor for two decades. Previously serving as Adweek's New England bureau chief and web editor, he remains based in Boston.