02.20.08

Barefoot on the Court: A Lesson in Creativity and Execution

IUPUI coach Ron Hunter started a campaign to collect athletic shoes for children in need in Africa after meeting Samaritan's Feet founder Emmanuel "Manny" Ohonme.

Hunter's original goal was collecting 30,000 pairs. He initiated one simple act of promotion -- coaching his games barefooted.

After news of his endeavor started to spread and shoes started coming in, he mentioned he might increase the goal to 40,000, in honor of the 40th anniversary of the death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

By tip-off last month, he had 110,000 pairs.

A crowd of more than 1,000 attended the game at IUPUI Gymnasium -- and some of the students showed up barefoot, in support of Hunter. The school announced that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security had donated 10,000 pairs, with the possibility of more to come. Soles4Souls, a Nashville-based charity, donated 40,000 pairs. Wal-Mart gave 25,000; Nine West, a women's shoe company, offered another 5,200. Converse donated 15,000 during Hunter's appearance on ESPN Radio's "Mike & Mike in the Morning" on Thursday.

Just a little reminder that a creative idea, well-executed can mean the difference to a successful campaign.

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