A crazy idea with incredible impact
The football boot enthusiast community exploded with surprise earlier this week with the launch of adidas’ Memory Lane pack, which brought back revamped versions of the much-beloved adiZero series. Even crazier, each different colourway was a product of adidas’ designers working directly with different retailers. While some of adidas’ retail sites around the world did/will get a few pairs to sell, the majority of the boots were only sold/will only sell at the corresponding stores that helped designed the boots. There are several reasons why this was not just a mad idea, but a brilliant one.
To start with, it seems like a one-off idea, but adidas are showing that they are (supposedly) more willing to work with outside sources when it comes to releases. We saw this earlier in the year when adidas worked with the The Pred Collective and The Predator to create the Predator Archive collection. It does lead one to wonder if these (two now) one-off collabs is something that will become more prevalent in the future. It benefits adidas, because it helps build this idea that the company is open to listening to ideas (though it seems there are still restrictions). This also means that the company can get more “influencers” involved and thus increase their parasocial standing (the idea that a company seems close to you like a friend).
A drawback of this release is that putting six different limited-edition models on the market at all once puts a lot of strain on the system. First, you get all of the companies that miss out. Second, you get all of the customers that miss out. Third, it falls into the hands of resellers and not into the hands of actual collectors (this is a whole post for another day). There’s also the fact that it might cannibalize any releases that adidas has launched. Furthermore, in future, other brands will probably follow and soon the market could be full of releases like this. I guarantee that Nike or Puma has been licking their lips with an idea like this.
To go back to and touch on a good point about this release, that adidas was working with retailers for this pack. Doing this has allowed new ideas to be proliferated into the company, and even if they aren’t used, it could lead to other ideas. There is also the fact that companies should be listening to retailers and customers more often when it comes to ideas anyways, so this collab was a positive aspect of doing that. This is also good for adidas and retailers because it helps drive sales to various retailers and sources and stops the adidas from being too reliant on itself or one particular retailer, which I feel is something Nike should be thinking about doing.
Another bonus for adidas is that the overall cost of marketing is far lower than what the company would normally have to do for a “regular” release, since the retailers that adidas are doing the collabs with do most of the marketing themselves. It’s definitely possible that this was part of the agreement to have these collab launches, but its still a huge benefit to the brand itself.
There is also of course the downside of releasing this during a global pandemic, but the design process takes a long time to gestate, so this is a bit more understandable. Still, six releases are a bit much. The counterpoint to this is that because there are multiple versions, it means that there is likely something for everyone, so a lot of different people’s tastes are covered.
Lastly, adidas deserves a good bit of credit for using the original uppers, which is something that a lot of people are nostalgic for, rather than just doing colour updates to the current X Ghosted. There is also the benefit of seeing that brilliant CarbiTex Speedframe combined with a different upper to see how it performs. Which I am all about.
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Top Photo Credit: Unitsportstore, the rest adidas.com