In an effort to intensify the bond between CONS and American street culture, Converse is expanding its CONS Project to Los Angeles. The effort, which targets teens 16 and up, includes a series of events and workshops it says is intended to “inspire the next generation of creative spirits through music, art, style and sport,” says Ian Stewart, VP/North American marketing.
“While all three of our lines target these creative spirits and are the brand’s epicenter, it’s especially true for CONS, which is our modern street culture line,” he tells Marketing Daily. “It’s a culture where music comes together with art and sports like skateboarding.” (Converse also markets the flagship Chuck Taylor line, as well as Jack Purcell, a small fashion line.)
The event, which is free and held over the course of two weekends, offers teenagers 16 and older how-to workshops on everything from making their own skateboard video, promotion skills for starting your own band, or how to create a ’zine. And while it’s timed to coincide with the just-launched spring line of CONS, he says there’s no merchandise associated with the event.
“Underneath our brand is this conviction about unleashing your creativity, and this sense of Converse being a blank canvas is part of our DNA. And it really speaks to kids today,” he says.
Stewart says the first American event, which was held in Brooklyn and ran from November through January, focused more on music. Held at Converse Rubber Tracks in Brooklyn, it taught kids how to make beats and music videos.
He says Converse will continue to host such events. “We want to speak to beliefs we have about celebrating our audience, and not ourselves, especially the kids on the street. The idea is to do something useful, rather than marketing for marketing’s sake.”
While the primary goal of the projects is to get kids to physically create things -- such as music, film, or ’zines -- “that’s just the ground level,” he explains. “From that comes content, which they can watch and share across platforms, like Instagram and Facebook. These projects are the starting point, not the end.”
In its most recent quarterly results, Nike said sales for the Converse division jumped 11%, driven by strong performances in North America, the U.K. and China.