New Balance has been feeling the burn — literally.
The Boston-based athletic brand is still recovering after numerous Twitter users shared photos last week in which they were burning or trashing the company’s sneakers.
The backlash came after comments made by a company spokesperson last week were deemed as supportive of President-elect Donald Trump.
A series of tweets from Wall Street Journal reporter Sara Germano one day after the U.S. presidential election, on Nov. 9, had cast New Balance as the first U.S. sportswear brand to publicly back the newly elected commander in chief.
According to Germano, New Balance VP of public affairs Matt LeBretton said that President Barack Obama’s administration had been unresponsive to several of the brand’s efforts and that he was feeling more optimistic with Trump at the helm.
On Thursday, New Balance attempted to clarify the statements, saying: “As the only major company that still makes athletic shoes in the United States, New Balance has a unique perspective on trade in that we want to make more shoes in the United States, not less. New Balance publicly supported the trade positions of Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump prior to election day that focused on American manufacturing job creation, and we continue to support them today.”
Nevertheless, the damage may have been done, and the sneaker burning and negative comments lingered on Twitter for several days.
But who was behind most of the raucous?
Market intelligence platform Affinio may have the answers.
The company analyzed all of the Twitter posts from Thursday and Friday that referenced New Balance and Donald Trump in a single tweet and found eight distinct communities of Twitter users who were doing the most buzzing.
Affinio said its analysis of an audience of about 1,800 people found that “Sneaker Fans,” “U.S. News Fans” and “African Americans” were among the top communities involved in the conversation.
By gender, nearly 60 percent of the users talking about Trump and New Balance were male and about 42 percent were ages 25 to 34 years old. The second largest age group consisted of 35 to 44 year olds, making up 29 percent of the nearly 2,000 people in the fray.
According to Affinio, people with an interest in pop culture and Trump, in general, also made up a large portion of those tweeting about burning the brand’s sneakers.