Some workplaces encourage employees to donate blood to charity. But six employees at MSCHF, a quirky Brooklyn-based company known for products like toaster-shaped bath bombs and rubber chicken bongs, offered their blood for a new line of shoes.
“‘Sacrifice’ is just a cool word – it was just the MSCHF team that donated the blood,” said one of MSCHF’s founders, Daniel Greenberg, in an email on Sunday. (When asked who collected the blood, Mr. Greenberg replied, “Uhhhhhh yes, hahah, no medics, we did it ourselves, lol.”)
A drop of blood is mixed with ink that fills an air bubble in the sneaker, a Nike Air Max 97, Mr Greenberg said.
“Actually, not much blood was collected,” he said, adding that “there were about six of us on the team.”
MSCHF began selling 666 pairs of shoes – each pair costing $ 1,018 – on Monday, replacing a series of Jesus shoes that contained holy water. They were sold out in less than a minute.
Mr. Greenberg noted that Nike was “not involved in any way” in the process.
In a statement on Sunday, Nike said, “We have no relationship with Little Nas X or MSCHF. Nike did not design or publish these shoes and we do not endorse them. “
And on Monday, Nike sued MSCHF in the US District Court over the shoes, alleging that MSCHF’s “unauthorized Satan shoes are likely to cause confusion and dilution and create a flawed link between MSCHF and Nike’s products.”
“Decisions about which products the” Swoosh “should be used on lies with Nike, not with third parties like MSCHF,” said Nike in its lawsuit, referring to the “Swoosh” logo. “Nike calls on the court to immediately and permanently prevent MSCHF from fulfilling all orders for its unauthorized Satan shoes.”
The Consumer Product Safety Commission did not immediately respond to a request for comment Sunday on whether there were any concerns or legal issues surrounding the sale of the shoes.
The Satan Shoes is a collaboration between MSCHF and rapper Lil Nas X after he released a devil-themed music video for his song, Montero (Call Me By Your Name), in which he spins on Satan’s lap.
In the song, Lil Nas X, who was born Montero Lamar Hill, wrote “gleefully about lust as a gay man,” wrote Jon Pareles, the New York Times’ lead music critic.
Lil Nas X was released in 2019 and the title of the song is an obvious reference to “Call Me by Your Name,” a novel about a secret summer romance between two men that has been turned into a movie.
The shoes have a pentagram-shaped bronze charm and the imprint “Luke 10:18” – a reference to the Bible passage that says “I saw Satan fall from heaven like lightning”.
Lil Nas X responded sarcastically to the social media uproar over the shoes and posted a video on YouTube on Sunday entitled “Lil Nas X Apologizes for Satan’s Shoe” music video.
Governor Kristi Noem of South Dakota was among the critics of the shoes. Ms. Noem, a Republican, wrote on Twitter that it was wrong to tell children that the shoes are exclusive.
“What is more exclusive? Your God-given eternal soul, ”she wrote.
Lil Nas X was quick to respond, “You’re a whole governor and you’re tweeting about some damn shoes here. do your job! “Mrs. Noem responded with a quote from the Bible:” What use is it to someone to gain the whole world and yet lose their soul? “
Stephen J. Hoch, a professor of marketing at the University of Pennsylvania, said MSCHF is “smart” to produce only 666. “You won’t get stuck with too much unsold inventory,” he said.
“It’s a gimmick and not a very good one,” he added. “And the price is ridiculous.”
The production of limited quantities of streetwear – sold in drops – adds to the hype around products as well as high prices in the resale market.
Many collectibles such as coffee tables, Nike Air Jordan shoes, and whiskey have risen in value during the pandemic.
At least the shoes are tangible: a work of art that only exists digitally and has been verified as the only one in the world by an NFT or non-fungible token and sold for more than $ 69 million this month.
A pair of Satan’s shoes is unlikely to fetch such a price in the resale market. But the blood and other satanic elements are “definitely a unique marketing strategy,” said Barbara E. Kahn, another marketing professor at the University of Pennsylvania.
She said the strategy would “clearly only target a niche market segment, but it could target that segment in particular”.
“Part of messaging is breaking down barriers, from societal norms,” she said. “This suggests a new way of doing things that is consistent with the ideas of breaking social norms that discriminate against people.”
On Thursday, Lil Nas X wrote to 14-year-old Montero on Twitter that the song “Montero (call me by your name)” is “about a man I met last summer”.
“I know we promised never to come out publicly,” he wrote. “I know we promised to die with this secret, but this will open doors for many other strange people to just exist.”