image source: The Rock Project Delta
Sneaker launches are complex. Often an analyst will say, “It’s all about the product.” I’ve often said “you can have the best product in the world and if no one knows about it, it doesn’t matter.” The line is blurred between dope product, availability and marketing. It takes the perfect blend to deliver a product that sells through in a timely fashion. What does timely mean though?
In sneakerhead terms timely means the joints are sold out the day of release. In traditional retail sell through should have a cycle of 1-2 months, but that concept has changed drastically with fast fashion and consumer apathy. The longer a product sits the less likely it is to sell through at full price.
When a brand decides to place all of its marbles in third party social to drive engagement and sell through there is a very shaky platform being established. The brands that maintain control over the delivery of their product to the public is the brand that gains an advantage in this new retail environment. I say all of this to move towards a discussion on The Rock’s Delta drop from Under Armour. When the shoe first released this was the result:
The first drop of the Rock’s shoe sold out. When I wrote the article I attributed the sell through to the Rock’s ability to leverage his influence on social media. I also stated that this marketing concept is flawed. This week the Rock’s Delta released in more colors and is more available. While broken (sold out) sizes don’t tell the full story of how a shoe is performing, it should be noted that after a few days the Rock’s Delta is still available in a full size run in every color. There are a few reasons for this and the primary issue is that Under Armour has yet to take on the responsibility of content creation on a daily basis for the brand. There is no quick and immediate access to information about the brands endorsers, current projects or upcoming launches on the website. Their social media tends to be reactive instead of proactive. They don’t create the narrative, they follow the story and drop details in response to events.
The new Rock Delta drop has three colors. The shoes were released to coincide with Veteran’s Day. The Rock wasn’t in the military. I was in the U.S. Navy. There are a million guys that are available for the brand to celebrate. There could have been a build up towards Veteran’s Day with the Rock and other UA athletes celebrating those who served. This build up via their own platform would have set the stage for the launch of the Delta.
Note: The name of the shoe is aligned with a division of Army Rangers and there isn’t any connection directly to them at all. The only reference to veterans features the Rock in a picture… the one at the lead of this article.
I’ve said over and over on this site that Under Armour fails to capture their market and they do so to the detriment and slow growth of the brand at a time where they should be kicking ass and taking names. Relying solely on a splash page on the homepage and the Rock saying, “my shoe is here,” leads to exactly what the website shows slow sell through. Increasing the numbers immediately was also a bad decision. It’s better to produce 1000 shoes than it is to drop 3000 pair. It’s all about the optics.