Oct 5, 2007

Arenas' New Shoes

Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal had an article on the potential dangers of celebrity blogging: Washington Wizards star guard Gilbert Arenas has a blog on nba.com (for those of you who aren't sports fans, he’s a well-known basketball player) and decided to post a critique of the Adidas shoe that was to bear his name.

His critique was pretty harsh:
"I'm sitting there looking at the shoe like 'I hope you guys aren't serious. Because I'm not going to wear this shoe. ... Nobody is going to wear this shoe," said the blog post. He said parts of it reminded him of a "ballerina."
Adidas was understandably upset, although after the public airing, they resolved their differences and now have a shoe that Arenas loves.

So is this a reason for companies to shy away from blogging? Not at all.

First off, it reinforces the notion that Arenas is honest and outspoken: that he’s not going to put his name on any old shoe just to get the money. This gives the consumer confidence that their hero actually vetted the shoe himself and was involved in the design process.

Companies need to realize that what consumers crave is authenticity. That we’re able to see through the PR fronts and fake personas they create and that all we ask of them—and their spokespeople-- is plain talk and honesty. It’s why ad campaigns that speak to an actual truth are so effective, even if that truth isn’t 100% flattering to the client: people value a company that speaks the truth far more than they value a company that has no faults.

At a time when even TV commercials featuring real people are routinely assumed to be shot using actors, a real person being him or herself on a blog is definitely going to help, not hurt.

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