Swiss-based Bata plays nostalgic, Kiwiana card for return of Chinese-made Bullets

You know what the world needs more of? Shoes, that’s what. There simply aren’t enough options. So thankfully, in the spirit in past comebacks like Griffin’s Choco-ade, Twinkies, Temuera Morrison and Dunlop Volleys, Bata Bullets will soon be back by popular demand and adorning the feet of hipsters and nostalgic types everywhere. 

Let’s hope there’s a rehash of the classic Bata Bullets ad, which features the immortal line ‘cap, shirt, Bata Bullets’. Or perhaps a dubstep version of this glorious shoe-related song (‘the casual shoes that match your moods’). 

The shoes are being sold at a range of stores and cost between $39.95 and $49.95. And, as part of its launch promotion, it’s giving away a pair a day through a Facebook app.

While the release says Bata New Zealand is a Wellington-based company and mentions the Wellington factory a few times, it’s one of those businesses, like Jockey or even Cadbury, that seems to be thought of as local when Bata was actually founded in 1894 in Zlín, it’s headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland, and, according to Wikipedia, it has sold more than 14 billion pairs of shoes and was awarded the Guinness World Record as the Largest Shoe Retailer and Manufacturer. The Bata Bullets are also being made in China, so, as some commentors on its Facebook page have pointed out, tapping into the Kiwiana angle is probably stretching things a bit. 

As the release says:

Wellington-based company Bata New Zealand is bringing back that staple fashion item of the 70’s, the Bata Bullet.

Ten million pairs of the casual shoes were sold in New Zealand in their heyday and Bata Operations Manager Tony Harmer says there is a growing call from young people to be able to buy them again.

“We are re launching Bata Bullets because everywhere we go we are being asked to bring them back. The demand has been getting greater and greater. Young people today are very much into the retro look. We started a Facebook page to gauge the public’s interest and the overwhelming response has been ‘yes, please bring Bata Bullets back! [the page was started in August and has received almost 2,000 likes]’”

The 70’s fashion iconic shoes were Bata’s biggest seller.

“I used to work on the Bata Bullet machines in Wellington and they were working flat out 24 hours a day to keep up with demand. We stopped making them about 27 years ago. The old advertising campaign, which is held in the National Archives, had the catch cry ‘Hat, Shirt, Bata Bullets!’ and so many people still remember that.”

Mr Harmer says the re launched Bata Bullets will initially come in the original style and in the initial colours will be white, navy, black, all black and grey. Other styles and colours may follow, depending on how successful the first sales are.

“It feels fantastic to bring back Bata Bullets, it really does,” says Mr Harmer. “I used to wear them myself. My mother used to work on the machines and she would buy seconds at only 50 cents a pair for me. I had all the styles and all the colours.”

The new Bata Bullets will be made out of rubber instead of PVC and will have better durability, slip resistance and more comfortable inner soles.

“We are very excited about relaunching what was once our best seller and look forward to Bata Bullets once again becoming a household name.”

And as its website says about its manufacturing policy:

Our novel international manufacturing structure allows Bata facilities around the globe to respond to the unique needs and wants of local customers. As a result, Bata is honored to be a local company in every country it serves.

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