- Burger chain Shake Shack is teaming up with trendy footwear line Allbirds on a limited-edition sneaker: the Shake Shack Tree Runner, the brands announced on their social media channels.
- The shoe will be available at the original Shake Shack stand in New York City’s Madison Square Park on May 24. The sneakers feature Allbirds’ most well-known design with a white base and green trim and laces, which are Shake Shack’s brand colors, and also display the Shake Shack logo. They cost $100 and come with a three-pack lace kit and a special shake, the Hokey Pokey, made of vanilla frozen custard with honeycomb candy, chocolate, whipped cream and toffee. The shake is a nod to New Zealand, where Allbirds originated.
- The partnership is promoting Allbirds’ Tree Runner line, released in March, that is made from eucalyptus fiber with laces made out of recycled plastic bottles. The brand’s original shoes were made out of merino wool. The event will also feature an installation by street artist Eric Rieger, according to Adweek.
Two-year-old Allbirds has shaken up a U.S. sneaker market dominated by the likes of Adidas and Nike with a direct-to-consumer model, pared-down design and focus on natural fibers. Now the brand is upping the stakes through a clever partnership that underscores how disruptive brands from two seemingly unrelated categories like footwear and quick-service food can drive awareness with a small but influential audience such as trendy New Yorkers.
Shake Shack’s partnership with Allbirds could have a strong appeal for millennial and Gen Z consumers. These consumers are driving much of the growth in athleisure, streetwear and sneakers — the sports footwear market rose 46% in 2017 and is expected to grow at 20% over the next five years, compared to 10% for general footwear, according to Euromonitor International data referenced in a Retail Dive report. Allbirds has collaborated with other brands and retailers in the past. In March, the brand partnered with Nordstrom to release five exclusive colors of the Tree Runner. The footwear company also worked with fitness-wear brand Outdoor voices on a collection last fall, according to Adweek.
Events like the one-day sale of the Shake Shack-branded shoes are also popular with younger consumers, who are known to value experiences over products and regularly report feelings of FOMO, or fear of missing out. Activations such as this let brands that are typically only found online interact with consumers in a real-life way and encourage social media users to snap photos and post them online, furthering the campaign’s reach and enhancing brand awareness.
Direct-to-consumer brands, like Allbirds, are causing a disruption in the retail industry, per Adweek. The brands focus on direct relationships with consumers and have more flexible supply chains that can quickly adapt to consumers’ evolving needs and more easily churn out limited-run products. Direct brands are beginning to displace the indirect brands that have dominated the U.S. economy for decades, according to IAB research.