Converse (or perhaps more accurately parent company Nike) have done a great job at both reinventing the design classic Chuck Taylor All Star sneaker and in marketing the change. It just goes to show not every reinvention needs to be a New Coke nightmare.
It’s a brave brand indeed that messes with an iconic product. Just look at the marketing disaster that was New Coke, introduced in 1985 and finally removed from market in 2002. Converse brought out its All Star basketball shoe in 1917, then, in 1921, a basketball player named Charles H “Chuck” Taylor walked into the company HQ complaining of sore feet and suggested improvements to the design. Converse made him its salesman and ambassador. In 1932, Taylor’s signature was added to the patch on the high-topped boots, and he continued working for Converse until shortly before his death in 1969. Since then the company mantra has been “Don’t fuck with Chuck”. And it hasn’t. Until now.