Creating a Conversation

How we become ads for Companies

This article was inspired a lot by H. Bomberguy’s Video – Woke Brands which can be found here: Warning: NSFW Language

In recent years it has become more difficult for brands to reach customers through advertising. Many people these days don’t watch as much TV as previous generations and many of us use adblock when browsing the web. Advertisers have to constantly find new ways in order to reach potential customers. This is obviously a different beast when it comes to football boots. This is largely because of the rise of influencers, YouTubers and the like enables brands to have greater reach in ways that had never been broached before.

Part of this is the need for people to be part of the conversation. I’ve touched on this before, but the reality persists that in a market of constant releases requires all of us to be forced to have to stay something so that they will be part of the conversation and reach potential audiences. In spite of this, there are a lot of ways that companies still try to figure out how to reach as big of an audience as possible. We can’t forget that at the end of the day, these companies exist to sell you stuff.

One of the most ingenious ways that companies have figured out how to do this is by creating a conversation and making its customers willing participants in said conversation. The most high-profile example of this comes from Nike. Because of course it does. While not part of the boot industry itself, we can look at the controversy surrounding the Nike Vaporfly running shoes. In the past few years, marathon records have been falling drastically to runners who wearing either camouflaged or released models of Nike’s Vaporfly running shoes. The main selling point of these shoes is that they can improve your times by up to 4.2%. It is a technology that seems to have actual benefits and so much so, that rival companies and runners have been complaining about whether or not this product is actually fair. This has led to calls demanding that the shoe be banned from professional races.

This is turn has now created a conversation about the product. All of the sudden, everyone has to have their say about what Nike created or how these shoes have impacted the sport. Nike has runners who have smashed running records and this allows Nike to show off the “greatness” of their product. I would argue that even though their stated goal may have been to break these records and set a precedent, their real goal was to create a conversation.

By creating this controversy, Nike has successfully inserted themselves into many of the conversations about running and the effect of product when it comes to record breaking. This has allowed Nike to expand the conversation outside of the realm of running reviewers, bloggers and running magazines and into the mainstream media. Now we are getting articles from media companies like the BBC, CNN, Vox and others all talking about the Nike Vaporflys and whether they give an unfair advantage to the professional runners who wear them.

This would be all well and good if it was just a company creating product for its professional runners alone, but Nike isn’t just trying to help their runners perform better, they are trying to sell a product. It ultimately comes down to this. It isn’t about breaking records, its about selling shoes. That is Nike’s end-goal. All the sudden, even people who run casually will start to think about picking up these shoes. I have friends who are boot collectors are all the sudden thinking about picking up these shoes for when they go running. Whether or not they compete in actual races isn’t the point, the point is being able to sell a product to the widest possible audience. People who just run to keep in shape or do it as part of their workouts will pick up the shoe, just for the benefit of being able to “improve” their workouts.

The people who buy the Vaporfly just for casual workouts or running then become the advertisement themselves, because they will then extoll the benefits or issues to their friends, which further increases the chances of a sale. This is how we become the commercial. The same thing happens whenever a new boot is released and you or a friend pick it up. People will naturally ask what you think about it and whether you recommend it. Whether or not the product would work for someone else is besides the point. What matters to these brands is that we all become ambassadors not only free of charge, but we paid them for the privilege.

If we take a macro view to this issue, we can argue that this happens with almost anything that involves the exchange of money for product. “I like this supermarket because of XYZ” and similar examples. But the point for a lot of sports companies and companies in the boot industry is to increase this pressure into becoming a free ad for the brands. I can tell someone I like a pair of boots I bought and extoll the virtues without it being a big issue. But when we buy into a product that has created a conversation, it automatically thrusts us into the spotlight and requires us to have a say.
Here is an example. Many years back when I first started playing men’s league, I was one of maybe two people in my league who wore the Mercurial Vapor IIs. Because the boot was “so hype” at the time, I was asked about them constantly. Not only from my teammates but from opponents as well. I specifically remember winning a corner after taking a shot and a defender on the other team asking me if I thought the boots would work well for defenders!

Anyways, the point is that we should be careful and not allow brands to control the conversation all the time. As I mentioned in my article about hype, maybe sometimes we should let it go. You don’t have to have an opinion about everything, after all.

Thoughts? Opinions? Let me know what ya’ll think and make sure to follow me on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter!



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