How Mizuno has created an audience for a new product
About a week ago, Mizuno teased a new product that even I had no idea about. It seemed at first as if it was going to be a new boot launch or something. Imagine the surprise when Mizuno announced they were launching ZeroGlide grip laces and not a new boot or new colourways for current boots. While it seemed a little strange, Mizuno did some good subversive marketing for the laces ahead of its initial announcement.
In the weekend before the official launch of the laces, every single Mizuno sponsored player was supporting different coloured laces. While this isn’t obvious overseas as there aren’t as many Mizuno sponsored players outside of Japan, if you watch any J League matches or the Japan national team matches it was impossible to miss all of the different colours of laces on the pitch. This was helped by the fact that new colourways haven’t been launched in a little bit so seeing players wear their “normal” boots with new coloured laces helped the product stand out.
After releasing the news of the new product there were obviously several people (myself included) who were surprised that Mizuno would create such a product. After all, brands like AMO have made grip laces for years and it has never been seen as a must-have product but more of a curiosity. AMO is even available in Japan, though they’re not particular well known unless you go into a store that carries the product.
In spite of this, there are some differences that make sure Mizuno will have an audience for the new laces. The first part of this is price. The new ZeroGlide laces are 990 yen, which makes them a lot cheaper than the AMO laces, and automatically makes them more accessible because they aren’t too much more expensive than regular laces. The Morelia laces, for example, retail for 550 yen which is just close enough in price to allow store staff to upsell people to the ZeroGlide laces.
Another reason why Mizuno will have sales with the new laces is because they already have an established distribution base and are dominant in the Japanese market. Literally every sports store that carries football stuff here has some Mizuno footwear. A lot of these stores also already carries things like ZeroGlide insoles so adding laces to their range of footwear accessories is an easy thing to do for most of these places. This means that on launch day, literally thousands of stores will have these laces available.
A lot of stores are already advertising using these laces with other brands boots. Because of course they are. There is also already a lot of people who change out the laces in their boots as it is, so giving people like this another option will go down well.
The combination of this and the fact that the laces are impossible to miss on player’s feet right now means that Mizuno has built a solid foundation for the success of the ZeroGlide laces. It’s a great way for the company to make a good amount of sales in a year that has been a struggle for a lot of brands.
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