We all knew it was coming. The signs have been around us for awhile now. So it should come as no surprise that Instagram is working on some monetization schemes.
The little photo-sharing-app-that-could catapulted the idea of the mobile-first social network, and managed to create a whole new level of hype around “iPhoneography.” For chrissake, people refer to themselves as Instagrammers. There are meetups organized around the community so people can physically get together to use the app. It’s a really real thing, you guys.
But it’s not just for us anymore; the transition has begun. And it has begun with what’s possibly the brandiest, most corporate, blatantly-appealing-to-the-lowest-common-denominator campaign there ever could be.
Before we dive into the nonsense that’s about to follow, realize that this has nothing to do with the fact that Instagram wants to make money. A company is a company is a company; I don’t care if you’re a corporate banker or an app creator (or a candlestick maker!), you’re doing what you’re doing because it’s your job and you want money. So yeah, rake it in Instagram, get it girl.
No, that’s not my problem: My problem is that one of the first official product partnerships Instagram is entering into is with Nike. To design shoes. Shoes inspired by – you guessed it – your Instagrams.
Yes, really. No, I won’t slap you out of this dream hellish nightmare. Write it down, Internet: 2013 – the year we started living in a world where it was possible to create shoes inspired by pictures you took with your smartphone that you then filtered with an app. We will never be the same.
In case the concept isn’t enough to infuriate you (or at least make you sit there, slack-jawed, slowly releasing a guttural, “Whaaaaaaaaaaat?”), allow me to run you through the process. It all starts out innocently enough: Sure! I’ll authorize a Web app that wants access to my Instagram account. I do this all the time! I am comfortable and in control of what is happening. We good, we good.
Or are we? Are we good …?!
Okay, a tile-view gallery of my photos. Fine. We’re still in familiar territory here. I’m a little confused about how one of these photos is going to become a shoe design, but I’ll play along and do as I’m told and choose my photo.
I’m sorry – what in the world is this noise?
I’ll tell you what it appears to be: A Nike Air Max shoe in a color scheme very loosely tied to the overall hues of the Instagram photo I selected. And by loosely, I mean that the folks behind those scammy “Can you draw this turtle?” art school ads are laughing their asses off. In the above example, it would appear a very nice blind man was in charge of creating a shoe that resembles the Instagram image. Either that or Nike is just straight up messing with me.
Just for shits and giggles, I’m going to act like I’m buying my “creation.” So how much does this custom design run? $135-$147 big ones.
That might sound like a lot, but consider that you can engage in the following conversation:
Passerby: Dope kicks, man.
You: Right? I customized them myself.
You: You can’t tell? They’re inspired by this picture of my dog in that they very vaguely appear to be the same color as his Amaro-filtered fur.
Passeryby: Never talk to me again.
What’s perhaps the most frustrating part of this product is that it makes the least sense of almost literally any other partnership out there. Who in their right mind was like, “Haven’t you always wanted a way to take those Instagram photos from your trip to Catalina Island to wear on your feet?!”
Or maybe, “Man, you know what would be really cool!? Shoes designed around that awesome mac’n’cheese I had last week.”
Or maybe, “Thank god I have the option of remembering that party I was entirely too wasted at in shoe form!”
I feel completely confident that none of these things have been said by anyone ever. And so it shall remain.