I want to start by commending Nike for the charitable contributions created by the sales of this product, and the incredible benefit to the Doernbecher Children’s Hospital. They did a terrific job raising money for the cause, designing great looking shoes and telling an extremely compelling story. But let’s look a little deeper, ask some questions and ponder some interesting thoughts…
- If Nike REALLY wanted to raise serious cash for the hospital, why not make the shoes, specifically the DB Jordan Retro IX a GR? I completely understand that distributing this product vertically in Nike Towns & Nike Stores creates higher profit margin, but why not involve Nike Factory or Outlet stores then if not getting your traditional footwear retail partners involved? Why not produce several hundred thousand pairs creating tons of profit for the hospital as opposed to a limited release in a select handful of stores? Dare I suggest that Nike used the Doernbecher Children’s Hospital to create hype and buzz in the market place? I mean, the more limited the product, the more sought after it is, the more that furthers the allure of the brand.
- Here’s an interesting one for you conspiracy theorists…the publicity and attention around this year’s Doernbecher Collection, seemed to be greater than in years past. The hype was far greater than I ever remember around the DB shoes. Could it be that they did that intentionally to drown out the negative attention cast on them from their partnership with embattled cyclist Lance Armstrong? Livestrong has always been Nike’s public charity of choice; could this transition to Doernbecher be Nike’s way of getting people to forget about their partnership with Armstrong? Remember, Nike is a great marketing and PR company that happens to make shoes…
- Let’s look at that “hype & buzz” for a second…what makes a shoe desirable? Is it the look? Is it the rarity? What’s the most important factor for the consumer? Does having something that is “limited” give you a sense of social acceptance? What ever happened to individuality? Lots to digest here…for me, it’s always been the look of the shoe and the story behind it. As a kid that story was the athlete that wore those shoes, the feats that he accomplished and the stage that he accomplished them on…this explains my affinity for Jordan’s shoes. But what made the DB Jordan IX so sought after? Jordan never played in IXs & the true detail & look of the shoe wasn’t even known until after it was in hand. Young Pollito’s story was quite compelling but how many people chasing the DB Jordan Retro IX REALLY knew his story and were moved to buy the product because of that story? Let’s be real here. People may not admit this, but the limited nature of the product dictated the demand which is unfortunate.
- How about need vs. want? Nobody NEEDS these kicks. Not a single person. I don’t have to attach Webster’s definition of the word need, everyone understands it. So…if you don’t NEED them, why take to social media with such venom and anger towards the Nike retailers that you were unable to secure a pair from? What we saw from the sneaker community this week was laughable and disturbing. There was no regard for the charity and the cause that spawned the creation of this shoe. Most of the animosity was directed at Nike’s RSVP system but the irony is that the very system that was under attack was created because of behavior like this. The sneaker buying public’s inability to line up orderly and civilly to purchase the shoes that they so desire. Now this RSVP system exists, and people are just as uncivil and poorly behaved as they were in line, except with a public forum for the world to see.
- What ever happened to “on to the next”? The way people acted, you would think this was the last shoe ever produced. The world will not end because you didn’t get a pair of DB Jordan Retro IXs. You are not less cool. You are not less of a sneaker lover. A shoe comes out, you decide you want it, you take your shot, and if not, you move on. No slander. No venom. No need to pay resellers. Just set your sights on the next pair.
This was a very interesting week in the sneaker industry. The much anticipated release of the 2012 Doernbecher Collection came and went and we all got to witness the drama unfold from the start of RSVPs on Wednesday to the Nike.com release on Saturday, ending with the final stragglers being picked up today. I think Nike pulled a fast one on all of us with the actual design of the shoes; (I’m sure most will agree agree) the ENTIRE collection looked far better in person than the pictures pre-release indicated. Congrats to those that secured their desired pair from the collection and most importantly, congrats to ALL the kids past, present and future at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital who benefit from this annual partnership with Nike.