Interest in Converse Spiked After Kamala Harris Vogue Cover

Miles Socha
·3 min read

FEET FIRST: Did you notice all the letters for Converse can be found in the word controversy?

Not that it has hurt the brand: In the wake of Kamala Harris’ divisive American Vogue cover variously derided as “a washed out mess” and overly casual, online mentions of the iconic sneaker maker multiplied more than tenfold, according to Launchmetrics.

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The data and analytics firm tallied $5.5 million in media impact value and more than 1,000 placements since Monday, and it expects these numbers to rise. At present, there are more than 900 online articles.

For comparison, Converse gains around $740,000 in MIV and 90 placements on social and online on an average day “so this proves that the cover launch had, indeed, a major impact on the brand’s performance,” according to Alison Bringé, chief marketing officer at Launchmetrics.

“What consumers are looking for from brands and ambassadors today is authenticity and the final images were not to represent her as a style icon, but as who she is and what she stands for,” she added.

The cover of Vogue’s February issue, which leaked earlier this week, features the vice president-elect wearing a Donald Deal jacket and Converse sneakers with a backdrop of colors that are emblematic of her sorority at Howard University, Alpha Kappa Alpha.

Converse is tickled by the politician’s penchant for its kicks, which she also wore campaigning. “Throughout time, our iconic All Star sneakers have shown up in moments of progress, change and creativity,” the company said.

As reported, some media critics questioned the decision to feature the first female vice president as well as the first Black and Asian American to be elected to that role wearing sneakers, while others accused Vogue of using the wrong lighting and backdrop.

ListenFirst, another data and analytics company, tallied 37,576 tweets mentioning Converse between Jan. 10 and 12, compared to only 151 between Jan. 7 and 9.

Twitter sentiment around the Converse tweets between Jan. 10 and 12 was 26 percent positive and 29 percent negative, and Converse lost 172,653 fans on social media on Jan. 12, including 144,269 on Facebook, ListenFirst said.

“For supporters, the Converse shoes represent [Harris] becoming one of the world’s most accomplished women by being herself,” said Lisa Grant Damico, director of account management at ListenFirst. “On the other hand, for some of the more conservative voices on Twitter, Harris wearing sneakers doesn’t fit into a male gaze concept of what should be on a fashion magazine, and both politically and sartorially they’d prefer Melania Trump be on the cover.”

Still, as Converse is becoming increasingly associated with Harris, “this represents a huge opportunity for the brand,” Damico added.

The cover choice has also been a win for Vogue, whose Instagram posts about the cover performed more than three times better than normal in terms of MIV, comments and likes, Launchmetrics noted.

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