AirBaltic turns virtual shoe featured in advertising campaign into real sneaker

Besides starring Bill Murray as oceanographer Steve Zissou, the 2004 cult movie ‘The Life Aquatic of Steve Zissou’, also featured custom-made Adidas white/yellow ‘Team Zissou’ sneakers with light blue striping, designed by the creators of the movie. After seeing the film, hundreds of sneaker fans inquired with Adidas where they could buy the fictional shoes. However, despite numerous requests, an online petition and Facebook page, Adidas declined to take the shoe into a limited edition production. This prompted many fans to design and produce their own Team Zissou shoes – and also offer them up for sale on eBay.

Fast forward to 2011, a time when the ‘conversation economy’ has become much more mainstream. In March 2011, Latvia-based airBaltic – which has been featured several times before on – launched a new advertising campaign that highlighted several airline-themed shoe designs branded in airBaltic’s colours. The fictional shoes were meant to illustrate the various reasons consumers could have for taking advantage of an offer by the airline, such as summer travel, winter break, visiting a sports game, or an upgrade to Business Class.

The shoe designs were featured in print ads, outdoor billboards and online banners, and  appealed to the public is such a way that people started to inquire at airBaltic via Facebook and Twitter where they could buy the shoes. Having already launched innovative ‘Baltic’-branded products such as the airBalticBag, BalticWater, BalticTaxi and BalticBike, airBaltic was quick to embrace this marketing opportunity and recently turned one of the designs into a real shoe. In the airline’s words: “Inspired from our advertisments we have made real airBaltic branded leather shoes.”

Says Janis Vanags, VP Communications at airBaltic, “The idea of airBaltic shoes started purely as an advertising concept, emblematic of travelling, road, flight, movement. We were also happy to share our images on airBaltic Facebook with our almost 70,000 fans since spring this year. And what happened – our fans started to inquire at which stores the shoes (sneakers) were available at. Therefor, we decided to create a limited edition of this eye-catching design. The first batch of sneakers is 1,000 pairs. “

Besides a nice conversation starter, the airBalticShoe is a great example of how airBaltic listens and responds to inquiries from the general public. The branded shoe is also a smart way to get some free exposure on the street. The airBalticShoe is available at the airline’s online shop for EUR 55.

Update 12 december 2011. Following the news of the branded sneakers, airBaltic continues to push the boundaries of airline retail. AirBaltic today announced it will become the first airline in the world to sell cars on board. Starting December 16, 2011 passengers onboard airBaltic flights can purchase custom designed Mini Coopers. The cars are branded in airBaltic-inspired colors and sport the text “I Love Flyin.” The final design was chosen by the airline’s Facebook fans.

Passengers wishing to purchase the car, pay EUR 50 on any airBaltic flight to receive a voucher. After landing, the passenger visits airBaltic’s online store and completes the purchase. Then he or she will receive a call from an airBaltic representative and be invited to see the real car and take a test drive and choose payment or leasing options. The Mini Cooper R56 model price is EUR 24 699. It has a 1.6-litre, 120hp petrol engine and an automatic gearbox. The car will be available for purchase aboard all airBaltic flights from December 16, 2011 until January 15, 2012.


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