Gears Up For Valentine's Day Launch

Betting that there is no end in sight for American women's obsession with shoes, Powderhouse Productions is getting ready to launch, a web channel devoted to nothing but shoes. (okay, there will be a little bit about boots, too.)

Programming for the site--scheduled to launch on Valentine's Day--includes eight regular segments, says Marcy McCreary, director of new media, marketing and sales for the Somerville, Mass.-based company. "Pimp my Pump," for example, allows women to show off their own shoe embellishments; "Walk on By" features woman-on-the-street videos shot in major U.S. cities, and "Real or Deal" invites contestants to decide whether a designer shoe is real or a knock-off.

There's even some more highbrow programming, such as an interview with the comedian who created the foul-mouthed "Shoes" video on YouTube. And there's also a segment on "Walk This Way," a recent exhibit of shoes at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

To add a social network element, "we've also hired a number of fashion writers to blog about shoes and create forums," she says, so viewers can comment as well as post their own shoe videos, YouTube-style.



The site, which targets women ages 18 to 44, will be ad-supported, allowing sponsors to buy video ad overlays, ShoeTube Boutique microsites, banners, and contest and polling efforts. So far, Nine West has signed on to promote its 30th anniversary as well as the launch of its fall 2008 boot line, McCreary says, and other shoe marketers and retailers are on deck.

Finally, the site will offer four "mood" zones--sinfully sexy, chic comfort, fit and feisty, and fun and funky--and will sell sponsorships for each zone, she says.

Over the top? Absolutely. But so far, there's no indication that America's shoe fixation is slowing down. Total footwear sales in the U.S., reports NPD Group, Inc.'s Consumer Tracking Service, came in at $44.2 billion in the 12 months ending in October. And a recent poll from Consumer Reports National Research Center found that the average American woman has 19 pairs of shoes.

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