Don Draper is Alive and Well in Ridgecrest, CA

First things first. Happy Leap Year Day dear readers!! Hope you made the most of this odd calendar event. As we age, we need more, not less, leap year days, don’t we?

But I digress.
Today, I was leafing through the New York Magazine (not to be confused with The New Yorker mag). It is a very hip mag that I subscribed to when I heard that Frank Rich, a favorite columnist of mine, moved from the NYTimes to NY mag. Anyway, when I was looking at the pictures, I couldn’t help but notice the anorexic, smile- less (dour) models that were all outfitted in the latest couture outfits. Why in the world do those models look so dour? Unhappy? I think their unhappy look does nothing to help sell those clothes they are wearing. I would expect to see looks like that, say, if a person was standing in front of the judge just before sentencing. Or I might expect to see this pained looked on the face of a patient that was being told they have only a few months to live and they better get their affairs in order. In one of the ads, two women side-by-side have these really high heels on their feet and they are caught in the middle of a very wide stride (as opposed to a wide stance as the Senator from Minnesota testified to when accused of lurking in a stall in the men’s bathroom at the airport purported for the purpose of attracting another male for the purpose of…well, you know the story).

But I digress. So here is this ad with two women who together probably weigh about 78 pounds total, both looking as thought they are about 7 feet fall because of the high heels (can I even call them high heels? perhaps we should describe them as decorative platforms that are designed to contort the foot of young women). Really, toe shoes are probably less damaging to the foot because they are designed for, well, standing on ones’ toes. These decorative platforms are designed to elongate the leg so that the bottom half of the wearer’s body appears to make up about 2/3 of the total body mass. The other 1/3 is comprised of sticks for arms, knobby shoulders and a small head crowned off by overly chemical-treated long, stringy hair. And their toes are overhanging the front of the platform…what’s that all about? Probably gravity forcing the foot toward the floor…really, the toes have nowhere to be but over the edge. And the funniest thing about these models is that they both have one leg going forward in a pose that is reminiscent of Angelina Jolie at the Oscars flashing her skin and bones leg out of the slit of her dress. For what? Does anyone know why she would do that?

So, it occurred to me that those shoes are not made for walking. Balancing perhaps. Modeling perhaps. Walking, not so much. Then when discussing this with the Rayman who returned early from skiing at Mammoth because 60 mph winds were forecasted and with our friend, Nancy, at whose house we were staying in Ridgecrest…I decided that some shoes were only appropriate for sitting in…that is, when sitting these shoes could be safely strapped to one’s foot. And Nancy, up-to-the-minute Nancy, thought her Ed Hardy shoes would be fine for sitting in because it was hard to stand in them. With Rayman agreeing, we had a consensus. And that’s where Don Draper, and Penny too, come in. We had fallen into the most brilliant market strategy ever…sort of a Penny thing with Don, beautiful Don, selling the concept to the client (Armani perhaps, or Louis Vuitton). “We make shoes for fabulous sitting.” “Be the prettiest sitter at the party in your Armani shoes.” Or perhaps, “Our shoes never go out of style and they last forever.” (that’s because the owner of the shoes would carry the shoes to the party and slip them on when they sat down). And maybe they could devise a tie-in with a furniture manufacturer because more chairs would be needed for all these sitters and wearer of these extraordinary shoes.) And think of the snob appeal…not just anyone could afford a pair of shoes for sitting…truly only the most discerning and high-class women of this world. This could also lead to a special shoe carrying bag that could retail from $450 to $1800 and could be designed to hold your sitting shoes and your iPhone….perhaps a special pocket for fresh undies or whatnot. Really, I think we lit on something here in Ridgecrest. And the madmen of Madison Ave. would be proud.

POST SCRIPT

Rayman was sick last night. He was up every hour doing things no one wants to do. I had to sleep in another room. It wasn’t pretty. So, I had ample time to try to get back to sleep every time he got up. So…this lead me to wonder further about sitting shoes. And get this…I came up with more good ideas. For instance, shoes with those platforms have plenty of ‘wasted space’. So what if the designer of the shoe built in a wi-fi receiver and then an app designer developed code so that the owner of the iPhone could bring up the app and select a message that could flash onto the shoe ‘screen” that would be located between the sole and the bottom of the foot ‘bed’. Then thenshoe owner could choose messages to flash on her shoes…like, well, “Don’t even think about it”, or “Not interested”, of “For a hot time, call 555-5555” or whatever. The owner could also flash messages like, “I love my shoes!”, or “I just finished reading Pride and Prejudice”. I mean the sky is the limit. Or maybe the shoes could play music through the miracle of wi-fi. Think of the fun that could be had by the shoe owner while she sat at a cocktail party, in the restaurant, in the restroom while powdering her nose…the applications could offer enormous potential…as long as shoe wearer is seated because, really, walking and choosing apps for the shoes could be dangerous. Playing with your shoes while walking might become against the law because of the inherent danger. But, as a marketer, you should only dwell on the positives and the positives in this case are enormous…size 10 enormous!!

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