Vikings Wide Receiver Shows Starbucks Love with Branded Cleats
During my newspaper days, I often ventured to a South Philadelphia Starbucks to handle my publication’s "Word on the Street" component, feeling that the relaxed masses inside would have more time to think and respond, unlike their outdoors counterparts, many of whom often reacted as if my photographer and I wanted to draw blood. In engaging with customers, I noticed not only their receptivity to our questions, but also the products, with the latter really striking me because I do not indulge in its most famous item. Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs certainly does, though, and he showed his allegiance to the coffeehouse chain by wearing personalized Starbucks cleats in his team’s Friday tilt against the Seattle Seahawks.
The 23-year-old athlete collaborated with Mache Custom Kicks for the homage to the beverage giant, which, perhaps fittingly considering that the Seahawks hosted the game, originated in Washington’s largest city 46 years ago. Teaming with overseer Dan Gamache for the second time this month, the third-year player took to Twitter on Aug. 16 to pronounce, “My love for Starbucks is a 4ever thing,” with his creative partner using the social media platform the same day to display the inventive handiwork.
The love is equal, forever & ever. 💚
— Starbucks Coffee (@Starbucks) August 17, 2017
No matter one’s admiration or disdain for Starbucks, the design deserves a nod, especially for the checked order boxes on the upper portion and the famous mermaid logo that appears twice on each cleat. Inspections of the heels yield the personal touch, as Gamache, who has also assisted the University of Nebraska football team, added “Digz” to them. The end result certainly put Diggs in a footloose and fancy-free frame of mind at CenturyLink Field, as he made four first-half grabs for 65 yards, including a 39-yard catch.
The visitors fell, 20-13, but given the game’s exhibition status and the unique nature of the cleats, Diggs’ fashion statement will certainly eclipse any considerations of the final score. According to Bustle, consumers who are likewise crazy about coffee can copy Diggs’ tribute by placing an order with Mache Custom Kicks, which noted on Twitter that it had not officially partnered with Starbucks, stating that the cleats are “just some artistic expression for a mans [sic] love of StarBs.”
Diggs’ donning of the product came at an interesting time, as on Aug. 14, the NFL announced that players can wear personalized footwear for pre-game warm-ups, with restrictions, of course, and fines for those who violate those limitations. Other sports associations have adopted a receptive attitude toward advertising on uniforms, notably the NBA, but the NFL has yet to allow official marketing pushes on players’ garb. Given that it has somewhat relaxed its reputation as the "No-Fun League" through the pre-game cleats implementation, could it catch up with the NBA, MLS and the WNBA as a beneficiary to what is undoubtedly a practice with a heavy return on investment?