Turning a Shoe Into a News Cycle

Posted on September 22, 2011 by 1 Comment

They’ve been called ‘the most famous shoes never made.’ You might know them as the quasi-futuristic high-tops from Back to the Future II.  Regardless of what you know or have heard about Nike’s MAG, they’ve definitely made one heck of a comeback.


Earlier this month, Nike rereleased the MAG in a well-executed campaign that not only integrated events, PR and social media but also tied in celebrity engagement and charity sponsorship. Let’s look at how they did it:



Giving Credit Where Credit is Due

The MAG owes most of its reinvention to fan interest.  Since Back to the Future II premiered in 1989, fans have been rampant to see the shoes worn by Marty McFly become real. There have been “more than two decades of speculation, campaigning, and general nerd angst” from both Future and Nike enthusiasts to see the shoes come to fruition.  (Source: Fast Co Design). 

“In 2007, a group of fans launched a grassroots campaign named McFly2015, begging Nike to make the shoes. Nike listened [by] releasing a special edition series of Nike Hyperdunks with the distinctive teal-and-gray coloring and Back to the Future-inspired typography. But that didn’t satiate the masses, who wanted a shoe that was 100% true to the concept. They also wanted power laces, especially when it was discovered that Nike had pulled a patent for an “automatic lacing system” in 2009.” (Source: Fast Co Design).

Tying It to a Cause

After Nike and Universal decided to make the MAG a reality, they decided to integrate support of Michael J. Fox’s (i.e. Mary McFly’s) Foundation to  “erase Parkinson’s disease from the space-time continuum.” (Source: the Denver Egotist).  150 pairs of MAG’s were put on an eBay auction where they’ve raised a total over $900,000 – or almost $6,000 a pair. 

 Making it a 360-Experience

Select press were sent a box along with their invitation to the event. Inside, there was an iPod shuffle with a message from Dr. Emmett Brown, a preserved bottle of Pepsi from 1985, and a replica pair of the Doc’s metal shield glasses. (Source: CNET).


The press event was held at Universal Studios’ Clock Tower, where hundreds of MAG’s glowed behind a two-story glass wall at the entrance to the Montalban Theater. Guests were treated to peeks at film paraphernalia like Doc’s plutonium case while they sipped Pepsi (of course) at “Cafe ’80s” and posed for photos on a hoverboard. There was, of course, a DeLorean outside mocked up in perfect detail, right down to the “Save the Clock Tower” flyer on the dashboard. This 1985-by-way-of-2015 environment and the stealthy buzz that fueled it was thanks to a creative team at Wieden+Kennedy, who worked with Nike’s events team to make the launch a reality.


Everything about the relaunch was on-theme and authentic. By staying consistent with the details of the film, Nike generated a ton of positive buzz from traditional press and bloggers alike. 


Star Power
Michael J. Fox’s partnership with Nike was a natural fit – he made the shoes famous.  Through a well-timed appearance on David Letterman, Fox announced the shoe’s Back to the Future website creating even greater buzz.  The real celebrity standout was Christopher Lloyd. Blogger recaps of the event went absolutely crazy when the real “Doc” showed up onstage.


In addition to traditional celebrities, Nike also made use of art superstars by asking select artists to create Back to the Future posters. The art is amazing, and has generated conversations amongst Future and art fans alike.

 The Lesson for Event Professionals

Expanding your event them to include PR, celebrity and charity can really help your company break through the noise and create news.

Wordless Wednesdays

Posted on August 3, 2011 by Comments Off

We love the use of color, lighting and play with shapes. It’s amazing how much specialty lighting can impact the look and feel of your event.

Photo brought to you by West Coast Event Productions.

Summer eventing

Posted on May 27, 2011 by 1 Comment

Memorial Day is the unofficial kick off to summer here in the U.S., which means outdoor entertaining & eventing season is ahead of us!  We can feel it, too – our events are starting to move from within hotel ballrooms and private dining spaces to atop city roofs and poolside.  Just like your attire changes from season to season – we’re wearing white, are you? – the checklist of things to remember.  Tuck these in your back pocket as you think about planning your outdoor event:  


Image courtesy of Smarty had a Party


Nothing ruins a fabulous night outside like bug bites on your arms and legs.  Keep the bugs away by lighting some citronella tealights or mosquito-blocking candles.  If space and fire-code allows, light citronella torches and stage them around the perimeter of your area.  Fair warning: citronella is not scentless, so if your guests are averse, spread out the candles out to diffuse the smell.

Have a plan for outdoor food.  It’s never fun to try to swat away fruit flies while trying to enjoy your meal.  It’s even worse when you approach a buffet only to find bugs all over the pasta salad.  If you are serving food outside, ensure it goes quickly from preparation (perhaps something grilled) to plate.  Letting food sit outside almost guarantees the arrival of these pesky things.  Otherwise, serve food in an indoor space and send your guests outside to eat.  If it’s too late and they’re already guests at your dinner party, find a couple interesting tips for getting rid of them right here.

Create a summer comfort basket.  A couple of simple offerings go a long way in getting your guests comfortable.  Setting out a few bottles of bug spray, a tube of calamine lotion and ibuprofen will help address any in-the-moment bites.  Providing a stack of blankets or shawls will ensure that as the temps drop, your guests will stay comfortable. 

Maximize summer.  Get creative!  Is the event in a place with fireflies?  Set out mason jars for catching.  Is there a meteor shower happening that night?  Ensure that you can easily get to a clearing to clearly see the night sky.  Need to burn off some energy?  Play flashlight tag.

Chinet isn’t your only option.  Skip the aisles of your local grocery store and opt for something a little more fun to complement your food.  We’ve written about fun reusable tumblers and compostable dinnerware, but this is where your imagination can really come out!  Try farmers market baskets for breads or other non-crumbly or drippy foods.  Hand out a couple of these baskets with napkins tucked inside to hold burgers and other foods you can eat with your hands.  Serve almost anything – from fruit salad to desserts – in ramekins.  They come in 2 million different colors and shapes, are super easy to clean and can be reused for soufflés, lava cakes and so much more.  

Whether you pull out the card table for a DIY mixed drinks bar or create a fiesta in your driveway, an outdoor event can be super fun whether you are working on a polished, big ticket event or a small backyard BBQ with a low budget.  We threw a bridal shower for an amazing lady a couple summers ago and not only was it gorgeous, she had a fabulous time and we didn’t break the bank.  And just look at these colors!

What are your summer entertaining & event tips?

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