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Aluminum 'shoebox' lifts Air Jordans

The "shoebox" for Air Jordan XVII basketball shoes from Jordan, a division of Nike, Beaverton, OR, is nearly as extraordinary as MJ himself. Retailing for as much as $200, Air Jordan XVII shoes are packaged in an aluminum briefcase, providing a presence that's head and shoulders above other shoe packaging.

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“The consumer should not just expect a basketball shoe," says Larry Miller, president of Jordan. "They should expect an experience." Packaged in China, the polyurethane foam padding-lined case contains shoes and an interactive CD. Inserted into the case top, the protective padding is die cut to hold the interactive CD, which is protected by a paperboard sleeve. Sourced in Japan, the case features an embossed Jordan logo. Jordan procured two different cases to accommodate different footwear sizes, a smaller briefcase for shoes sized 6 to 12 that measures 14'' x 9 1/2'' x 5 1/2'', and another for shoes sized 12 1/2 to 18 that measures 15 3/4’’ x 10’’ x 6". "Essentially, the case gives the product a James Bond feel with a modern-day flair," adds Gentry Humphrey, footwear product line manager. The case is shipped and stored inside a microflute corrugated container. The CD showcases Michael Jordan's involvement in the design of the shoe, technical presentations by product specialists, musical performances by special guests such as Big Tigger, and detailed product information. The company divulges that a similarly packaged, limited-edition version was offered last year in Japan. That spurred the idea of taking the packaging to a higher-profile commercial level with this introduction, which was in early February 2002. There will be three more Air Jordan XVII releases throughout 2002, each featuring a new color shoe and corresponding briefcase, as well as different versions of the CD.

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