Marco wrote about viral marketing a few weeks ago and posted a picture of his customized Nike shoe. I wanted to post on a related topic. I taught an information design class at Parsons this year that integrated with the marketing curriculum. That cross-over initiated a lot of conversations about market segmentation, positioning and target audience. One of my students showed me the Converse One website and I used it to make my own Supermetric shoe. So yes, this could be a viral marketing seed for our new brand name.¬† However, I’m completely fascinated by this shoe as an example of mass customization. I remember Greg Lynn talking about the impact of computer controlled manufacturing¬† on the formal language of architecture. He recounted a history of manufacturing in which the uniqueness of hand craftsmanship gave way to a generic aesthetic driven by industrial processes. While mass production is still the basis of volume driven businesses it’s interesting that something can look different while being structurally similar enough for mass production. My pair didn’t cost much more than an off the shelf version. I wonder what the actually production cost is.

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