Converse: Product Development Strategy


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Converse Strategic Development: The Culture of Play and Games

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Converse: Product Development Strategy

  1. 1. STREET GAMES Inspiration for Converse Product Development Prepared for John Sheehan April 24, 2005
  2. 2. Introduction As kids we found numerous ways to amuse and entertain ourselves, either out of boredom or necessity. We used our instincts and creativity to invent new games and activities or improvised older ones. We creatively used what was at our disposal - landscape, homes, objects, structures, and people - to make time more fun and original Our neighborhood streets and open areas became arenas, stadiums, and giant game boards playing host to tag football, street hockey, stick ball, soccer, hide & seek, kick the can, 1-2-3 Go, hop scotch, etc In every country and culture unorganized “street” play, where the kids are in control, is a rite of passage; rituals and games are organically passed from one generation to the next, spawning newer versions of traditional games
  4. 4. Why we Play We play to have fun, to take a break from “what we have to do”, and to amuse ourselves and others. We play alone or with others, finding interesting and alternate ways to enjoy our time As kids play - organized or socially - it allows them to develop and learn new skill sets they will use later in life - organization, honor, fairness, teamwork, etc. Playing allows us to make our own decision, choices that will influence how we act, and helps develop our personalities As we get older we always default back to our memories and lessons from playing - as work becomes more important and we play less, our desire to return to our childhood roots is evident in popular culture programming content, life style activities, devices, etc
  5. 5. The Role of Play in Life 60+ PLAY > WORK 50s-60s 40s-50s 20s-30s PLAY < WORK Teens Adolescence Childhood PLAY > WORK
  6. 6. How we Play Inventiveness and creativity are the hallmarks of kids’ street and urban games - making something out of nothing, creating your own world representing your values, dreams, aspirations, heroes, imagination, etc Games get handed down from generation to generation, and each new Generation adapts the rules and guidelines to fit their environments. Other games involve fantasy and acting out our heroes while playing in the street, from MJ to Joe Montana…it all happens in the streets - its where dreams are initially seeded Urban games are born out of necessity to preoccupy ourselves and fill time; summer times are filled with play and fun from camp to playing in the street and at school
  7. 7. CONTINUUM OF PLAY STRUCTURE IMAGINATION School Recess Camp Extra Organized TV St. Games Movies Video Hobbies Internet Curricular Sports Games Activities PROCESS FREEDOM
  8. 8. What we Play
  9. 9. Where we Play The city is the • Asphalt game board • Street • Sidewalk • Backyard • Neighborhood • School Street action as • Playground game play • On the stoop • Inside the home NO BOUNDARIES
  10. 10. We are Returning to Playing Urban Games Living environments are becoming more dense as suburbia continues to grow. There now exists a closer relationship between the games kids play in the city and in suburbia Urban street games tend to have simple rules, need few people, and take no time to get going. Use of the environment is critical - fields of play are streets, sidewalks, walls, and stoops/porches - equipment is minimal and typically household items used out of context There are no play dates, organization, time limits, planning, or parental approval. Just people getting together and collectively forming their own imaginative worlds
  11. 11. Urban Inspired Video Games Video game titles feature “urban” and “street” games; putting a spin on traditional organized games by creating a fantasy and returning us to our roots. How kids play has inspired a new generation of video game titles
  12. 12. Street Game-Inspired Communications Marketers in most lifestyle category are communicating with creative messages that are tailored to a more multicultural consumer - “mash up” or “fusion” between cultures is putting urban street games and urban-ness on the map “TAG” SHOXPLOTATION
  15. 15. Pac-Manhattan is a large-scale urban game that utilizes the New York City grid to recreate the 1980's video game sensation Pac-Man. This analog version of Pac-man is being developed in NYU's Interactive Telecommunications graduate program, in order to explore what happens when games are removed from their "little world" of tabletops, televisions and computers and placed in the larger "real world" of street corners, and cities A player dressed as Pac-man will run around the Washington square park area of Manhattan while attempting to collect all of the virtual "dots" that run the length of the streets. Four players dressed as the ghosts Inky, Blinky, Pinky and Clyde will attempt to catch Pac-man before all of the dots are collected Using cell-phone contact, Wi-Fi internet connections, and custom software designed by the Pac- Manhattan team, Pac-man and the ghosts will be tracked from a central location and their progress will be broadcast over the internet for viewers from around the world
  16. 16. WHIFFLE & URBAN GOLF Whiffle Golf is played by using a whiffle ball and wedges on a homemade course with obstacles everywhere. You keep score in the traditional manner, however the course is much smaller, so scoring is more difficult than actual golf Urban Golf is played in the streets using a traditional golf ball. Players identify the holes based on the city landscape. Imagination is key as the ball will just roll with the absence of grass
  17. 17. URBAN HUNT Urban Hunt as known as Fugitive or Escape is a game played amongst several people; one person is the fugitive while the rest are trackers. The fugitive is given chalk and a head start of 100 seconds. As the fugitive escapes he must draw an arrow every time he changes direction
  18. 18. DIGITAL STREET GAME Digital Street Game is a hybrid game of misadventure set on the streets of New York. Its a battle for turf, a contest of wills - in short - an excuse to explore the city. Players compete for turf by performing and documenting stunts on the physical streets of New York in order to claim territory on a virtual map Stunts are comprised of a random combination of 3 elements: 1) an object commonly found in the city (e.g. bodega) 2) a street game (e.g. stickball) and 3) a wildcard/urban situation (e.g. happy hour) Players interpret these elements as they wish, then stage and photograph their stunt in order to claim a spot on the map. The more stunts players perform the more turf they claim. But of course some players may want to compete for the same territory. In order to hold on to territory, players stunts must score high with the rest of the game community
  19. 19. EXTREME KNOCKING Extreme Knocking is a team prank sport played all over the world. The premise is to ring as many doorbells as possible in a given area without getting caught. Typical extreme knockers cover their faces with bandanas and strike at night, waking up an entire neighborhood
  20. 20. FREE RUNNING Free Running (le parkour) treats the urban landscape as an adult playground. It treats man-made structures as an obstacle course that participants negotiate by daring feats of graceful gymnastics. Similar to inline skating and skateboarding but without the device.
  22. 22. Consumer Insight As young adult consumers transition life stages, from dependency to independence, they are feeling constrained by the new pressures and responsibilities of adulthood. They seek brands and products that allow them to express themselves in an original way, like they used to as a kid…freedom, ingenuity, creativity, imagination… They no longer want to conform or be “cookie cutter” persons, they are looking to set themselves apart from their peers. Fashion has always been the staple to announce who you are, what you’re about, and where you’re going Footwear’s role has become increasingly important as a key differentiator, and is literally “what moves them” - emotionally and rationally
  23. 23. Consumer Verbatims - Games we Play • “…I play catch-up…I’m always trying to catch up with my friends’ schedules; we are all so busy now, if we don’t chase each other we never see one another…” Sarah, 24 • “…I don’t know if you call it playing but I still hang out in the neighborhood or the stoop catching up, cracking jokes, and having a good time…” Marlon, 23 • “…Pick up football in Central Park once a month with my college buddies…” Preston, 27 • “…I did one of those city challenges, where you team up with people and go after a prize…” Tim, 22 • “…co-ed Twister. Was cool in college and still is…” Paul, 25 • “…I have nephews that I’m always playing with…tag, punch buggy, etc…” Lee, 26
  25. 25. • Life is a game for young adults - they are looking to make life’s responsibilities and challenges more fun than just a task or mandate • Consumers are always eager to participate in games in almost any format - tv, video, sweepstakes, lottery, etc…it’s the opportunity to win and have more fun than they are right now • Brands that know how to deliver an emotional product experience first before a product experience, have the greatest chance of connecting with young adults • Young adults are looking for ways to make life more pleasurable and interesting • Street games never go away they get reinvented