I’m not even sure this is economics… just an observation. Probably not a useful one either. But its something I was thinking about.
I was driving home the other day and noted a small billboard for Skechers shoes. A young pretty blond girl was featured on the billboard. She is Ashlee Simpson. I know this because the billboard also told me who she was.
Now, I am not so out of touch with what’s hot among the teen age crowd that I don’t konw who Ashlee Simpson is. I understand that she’s a a singer whose primary claim to fame is being Jessica Simpson’s sister. I believe her second biggest claim to fame is that she was caught lip-syncing on what was supposed to be a live performance. And that more or less is the sum total of what information my brain is able to dredge up about Ashlee Simpson.
Now I understand that if they had a picture of an athlete, it might make sense to tell us who that athlete is. After all, I may not know who some rock climber or tennis player or basketball player might be, but I do know that these people need good shoes. While I understand that product endorsement is a funny thing – the athlete may wear a custom made model, not the one you find in stores – its not unreasonable to expect that many people might be swayed by the fact that an athlete is endorsing a shoe.
But Ashlee Simpson? I suppose if she wears a shoe, it might make the shoe cool for some segment of the population. But I also assume that segment of the population can recognize Ahslee Simpson in a photo if they see it. I wouldn’t be surprised if folks who wear Skechers are also folks that can recognize Ashlee Simpson. So why does Skechers feel the need to tell us the person on the billboard is Ashlee Simpson?