Texas state Senator Wendy Davis’s recent filibuster against a Republican abortion restriction bill was widely discussed across social media. Numerous news articles referred to her pink sneakers, the Mizuno Waver Riders that she wore in preparation for 13 hours of standing and speaking about the bill. While some readers were annoyed at the typical focus on clothing (particularly pink clothing) when it comes to women in politics, the publicity surrounding Senator Davis’s shoes increased Mizuno’s profits and even led to a string of entertaining Amazon.com reviews of the shoes.
The Mizuno Wave Riders, now called “The Wendys” became the number 2 shoe on Amazon and number 1 in women’s shoes following the filibuster. Many women are viewing these sneakers as a symbol of solidarity – to wear the Mizuno Wave Runners means “I stand with Wendy,” a statement that also trended as a popular hashtag on Twitter after the filibuster. Stories abound of women wearing the running shoes with work clothes and even a cocktail dress. Thousands of protestors flocked to the state legislature, many of them wearing the Wave Riders as well.
Reports show that the Waver Riders rose by 375% across the web. The overall brand, Mizuno, rose by 35%. Mizuno lifted 28% on sports sites and was boosted by 396% on political sites. Mizuno also reported that their web traffic had doubled since the filibuster. However, the company chose not to take a stance on the issue at hand. They commented that they appreciate Senator Davis’s choice of shoe; “however we do not have a corporate position related to the topic she presented.”
The Amazon Reviews
Most entertaining was the slew of Amazon reviews written about the Wave Rider shoe after the filibuster. Reviews were written by allies and enemies of Senator Davis’s cause alike. While some reviews discussed the shoes negatively because of their association with Senator Davis, others commented on the shoes as ideal both for filibustering and “for a female senator who would like to raise her hand or [have] her voice to be recognized over her male colleagues.” The success of something as simple as a pair of pink running shoes following a nationally discussed political movement is certainly an interesting marketing phenomenon.
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