Hype is good…and bad
The modern football boot market seems to be centered around hype these days. If you go onto to Instagram and follow a few boot influencers, you will be inundated with pictures and ads for the latest release. Much of the time, these spaces are dominated by the big three and as I have mentioned previously, it seems to have been done on purpose so that they remain the center of attention. It can be argued that hype by itself isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and I would be inclined to agree. The issues arise when hype is used as a means to drown out the competition and narrows people’s focus.
It seems that we can’t go a week without some spectacular new release. Pictures and ads are seemingly everywhere at once. Tech specs are posted all over the place and even people who don’t normally keep up with football boot releases get drawn in. We are constantly barraged with new stuff just to keep the hype going and the exposure reaches terminal velocity. If it happens to be a limited edition, then we see at least a few weeks of this hype before we move on. A few new releases every few months is not that bad, but problems arise when we have colourways releasing within a few weeks of each other. At some point, it all gets to be a bit much.
We can understand that brands only have a limited window to keep people’s attention these days. There is so much going on in the world and every ad is designed to at least get our attention in some way, shape, or form. Again, only one brand doing this is fine, but presently the competition is so fierce that brands are constantly trying to out-hype each other. We can take a moment here and say that some brands have dialed back how much they bombard us with ads and the like for new releases, and that’s a good thing. However, this could possibly be because they don’t need to do as much these days because influences and boot otakus will spread the word for them, often on their own.
What then happens is that this new thing is something that everyone must have a say about, otherwise you can be left out of conversation or your followers may not look to you the next time there is a big release. I am certainly guilty of this as well, because this is the game we all must play to stay relevant.
This constant exposure can often be exhausting not only for influencers and boot otakus, but for regular customers as well. Often, whenever there is a new release, you get a ton of people all suddenly, purposefully, realizing that they may want to the newest and greatest thing. Whatever released yesterday or the previous week no longer matters. Only the newest thing gets to dominate people’s attention. That new boot just bought now isn’t as fresh, and you might feel left out. There are exceptions to this, of course. If the new release is a limited edition or a new colourway for Messi or Ronaldo, then the hype tends to last a bit longer.
Hype can fail though, which shows us how easily these companies can fail. For many of the biggest signature releases for players, poor form or even injury can cause sales to be lower than expected. A good example of this is the “Silencio” colour of the Vapor that released for Neymar earlier this year. Neymar was injured at the time of the release, so it didn’t get the on-pitch attention it needed in order to translate into sales. In the end, Dani Alves ended up wearing the boots on pitch, supposedly just so someone was wearing them.
It is hard for brands to predict when an injury will happen to a player or if a product will be poorly received. But this is what happens when they constantly try to keep up the hype. It would be easier for them to avoid if so many colourways weren’t released but I suppose you could argue that if no one else cuts back on their releases, then ultimately, any brand who decides to cut back will lose out. Thus, the cycle keeps on going.
I think we miss out on things when there is so much hype about. Some products just get forgotten until they are seen in a store or someone decides to do a review on them. It’s bound to happen anyways, since so much is releasing right now. I’ll bring up this point once again that smaller brands suffer the most because they often don’t have the resources or the following in order to keep up. Some brands, like Mizuno, can do so well because of loyal customers and having a dedicated following. But for many, its hard enough to get your product seen, let alone get some sales. The last big issue is that since the big three have such a massive following, people who write, or make videos, or do Instagram often feel pressure to ignore the smaller brands releases because they know they won’t get as much attention and one of the big three’s next release is just around the corner anyways.
So, it looks like I’m bagging on hype pretty bad. And as I mentioned earlier it can be bad. But it also can be good. It’s fun to get excited about new products and the like. It is an interesting and fun time to be a boot nerd. There is a lot of really good stuff coming out. But maybe we don’t need to focus or have something to say about every single release out there. It’d be nice sometimes if we could just say “Cool, but I’m good” and move on. It is certainly a difficult thing to do, but I think it’s possible.
What are your thoughts? As always, I’d love to hear what ya’ll think!
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PS I edited this literally an hour before adidas released the Messi Nemeziz 15Y!