I got curious about why the Mizuno shoe company wasn’t exploiting all the free publicity it received from the photos of Texas Sen. Wendy Davis wearing their product during her filibuster last week.
A visit to the Amazon page where the shoes are being sold was enlightening. In addition to the numerous clever comments that have more to do with politics than the merits of the shoes, some people have pointed out that Mizuno President Robert Puccini has donated at least twice to the Republican National Committee and voted for Mitt Romney in 2012.
That poses a dilemma for those who rushed out to buy the shoes to show support for Wendy Davis and her staunch pro-choice position. Or who are thinking of doing so. Do they buy and wear the shoes to show support of Davis, even though doing so directly benefits a Romney supporter? Worth noting, of course, is that no portion of the purchase price of the shoes goes to Wendy Davis. Would-be supporters could just send their $114 directly to Davis, or to a pro-choice organization of their choice.
On their website, Mizuno says:
Media and consumers’ response via social media nearly doubled traffic to our site and lifted the Wave Rider 16 product page to be the number one viewed page. All in all, the excitement this event has drawn to our brand and running has been tremendous and unexpected.
As you do, we love talking about running and introducing new consumers to our quality product. However, this conversation did not start out as a running conversation, thus we have limited our engagement to date. We are fortunate to have benefitted from this conversation and do appreciate Ms. Davis selecting our quality athletic footwear for her “endurance” event; however we do not have a corporate position related to the topic she presented.
It’s a carefully worded and buried explanation of a neutral corporate position. Or of one that doesn’t want to give Davis any more publicity. The same deft copywriting could just as easily have extolled Davis’s endurance, etc. in her Mizuno Wave Riders without ever mentioning her political position. On the other hand, any appearance at all of taking sides would likely alienate as many customers as it pleased.
An interesting confluence/conflict of political and business interests, isn’t it?
Meantime, the Amazon page looks like this right now:
What’s the deal with that price?
- Mizuno: choosing not to capitalize on controversy (gretchbender.wordpress.com)
- Why Sneaker Company Mizuno Isn’t Milking the Wendy Davis Publicity (fashionista.com)
- Shoe-maker Mizuno gets bounce out of Sen. Wendy Davis’ filibuster footwear, as reviewers take abortion battle to Amazon reviews (trailblazersblog.dallasnews.com)
- When Running and Politics Collide: Support Wendy Davis or Her Opponents, But Leave Mizuno Out Of It (workouttowineglass.com)
- Mizuno’s shoe sales kick up after Wendy Davis’ marathon filibuster (prdaily.com)
- Sen. Wendy Davis, Amazon and political running-shoe activism (blogs.seattletimes.com)
- Amazon Flooded with Reviews for Texas State Senator Wendy Davis’ Filibuster Running Shoes (laughingsquid.com)
- Amazon haiku to Sen. Wendy Davis’s pink Mizuno shoes (timpanogos.wordpress.com)
- Wendy Davis’ filibustering sneakers get some ‘Amazon’-sized love (today.com)