Jonah Peretti had no intention of sparking a national debate about the cheap manufacture of sport tennis shoes but using the online shoe customization feature on Nike.com he created an unintentional campaign for change. I think the best part of this campaign was the awareness about unsafe labor practices in foreign countries.
Mr. Peretti tried to get custom shoes with the word “sweatshop” stitched on the side and had a long email dialog with Nike customer service who refused to design this customizable shoe request saying that the word was slang.
Undaunted, Peretti requested to have the photo of a young vietnamese worker emblazoned on the side, and at this point Nike stopped returning his email requests.
After passing the story around to a few friends the media found it and it travelled virally around the internet which led him to a realization about the power of social networks and was the inspiration for several businesses.
Video of Peretti at the Fastcompany.com Influence Project: Fast Talk event.
Jonah Peretti is the founder of Buzzfeed.com and co-founded Huffington Post with Ariana Huffington.