From the UK’s Media Guardian:
[b]Peace of the action
Stephen Brook, advertising correspondent
Tuesday August 24, 2004[/b]
Imagine the late John Lennon being used to sell trainers.
That thought has become a reality after the singer’s widow, Yoko Ono, agreed a deal with Nike nearly 20 years after she was at loggerheads with the giant sportswear manufacturer over the latter’s use of a John Lennon song in an advertising campaign.
Ono has allowed the late singer’s image to appear on a Converse All Stars “Peace” shoe, accompanied by his famous words “imagine all the people, living life in peace”. Nike bought Converse, the canvas shoe company, last year for £187m.
Nike, keen to exploit the shoe’s status as a retro fashion icon, has engineered product placement deals for Converse in two big summer films, I, Robot and A Cinderella Story.
Lennon’s image will appear on the $60 (about £33) trainer in the form of a self-portrait of the former Beatle perched on top of the world with the lyrics from Imagine, perhaps his most famous song, inscribed on the toecap of the shoe. Yoko Ono assisted in designing the shoe.
The deal follows Nike’s decision to forge a relationship with Yoko Ono after an outcry in 1986 when it tied its marketing campaign to John Lennon, angering Beatles fans by using the band’s song Revolution in an advertising campaign.
Ono was powerless to stop what she considered commercial exploitation of Lennon’s music because Michael Jackson had outbid her and Sir Paul McCartney for the rights to all the Beatles songs.
A portion of the proceeds from the sales of the Peace All Stars will be donated to non-profit groups that work to promote world peace. Converse donated $50,000 to EmpowerPeace, a group that promotes harmony between students in America and in Middle East.
“We are doing this because we have in our hands a global icon and blank canvas capable of unifying people in the universal pursuit of what is imaginable and possible: peace,” said Jack Boys, the chief executive of Converse.
Converse said it would issue a new, artist-designed Peace sneaker every year until world peace became a reality.
The company is also celebrating its successful product placement in I, Robot, the science fiction film from 20th Century Fox starring Will Smith.
The opening scenes of the film - set in 2035 - are a product placement bonanza, and Converse is the star.
At the start of the film, the Will Smith character dons a pair of the shoes after taking them out of the distinctive Converse box in a sequence that includes a JVC CD player and a robot from Federal Express, the courier company.
The shoe company also gets several lines of dialogue, when Smith’s character’s grandmother asks what he is wearing and he replies “Converse All Stars vintage 2004”.
The shoes also feature in another big film release, A Cinderella Story, the romantic comedy from Warner Bros.