The $16 billion athletic shoe industry long thrived on the status of sneakers costing $100 or more. Steve & Barry's and NBA star Stephon Marbury took on the “sneaker culture” by introducing the Starbury Collection, featuring the Starbury One sneaker priced at $9.98.
Positioning the Starbury sneaker as a revolution – one that saves parents significant money and builds kids’ understanding of value – the campaign leveraged NBA star Stephon Marbury’s fame, personal involvement in sneaker design and his “street credibility” to reach media that young people and their parents would see. Marbury announced that he would wear his Starbury sneakers during NBA games and made himself available for interviews at events across the country designed for coverage by news and sports media. John Mooney oversaw the media blitz that included a press conference unveiling the show and sporting apparel, in-studio interviews, a satellite media tour, special events and personal appearances at “street ball” events and at Steve & Barry retail stores.
The brand launch secured national coverage on Good Morning America, Regis & Kelly, CBS Sunday Morning, Nightline, 20/20, ESPN, Carson Daly, CNBC, AP, NY Times, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Forbes, BusinessWeek and Brandweek. NYC local media coverage of the launch event included every local print (Daily News, NY Post, Newsday), and every local NYC TV and news radio station. Stephon Marbury was invited to co-hosted Fox 5’s Good Day New York.
More than 500 people lined up outside Steve & Barry’s flagship store in the Manhattan Mall at 6 a.m. to purchase the Starbury sneakers and apparel (“kicks and threads”). The Starbury One shoe sold out across the country on its very first day and quickly sold three million pairs. Further, the affordability of the Starbury brand did much to improve the image of one of basketball’s most controversial stars.