Thursday, March 23, 2006

Adidas Adicolor

Last year, Adidas did a really smart thing. It created a whole campaign built around the 35th anniversary of its Superstar aka the Shelltoe. The program featured 35 different styles of the Superstar, often designed in conjunction with hip designers, which were very limited to about 2,000 pairs per style.

Now I know from talking to collectors that their feelings on the program were mixed. A lot of the true sneaker freaks dismissed the program because it struck them as somehow inauthentic and well, more like a marketing campaign than a desire to create unique and creative footwear.

Me personally, I liked the program. That is until Adidas went back on its promise to release the shoes in limited quantities when, within months of the launch, it followed up with a mass roll out of a bunch of the "exclusive" 35th anniversary styles. So for a customer (like me) who scrambled to buy one of 2,000 pairs of, say, the New York shoe, s/he discovered that six months later, every other retailer, including Foot Locker, was carrying the same exact shoes on their shelves.

Now Adidas is pulling a similar stunt with its Adidas Adicolor program. It's basically the same deal, however, this time, I've noticed that it's not making any claims on number of shoes manufactured per style. For this program, Adidas states:

The adicolor products are rolling out in retail over the course of three months, starting on March 4th, 2006. The different models are available through various distribution channels and cover a range of price levels.
I'll admit that a couple of the styles are hot. Like Dave Quality Meat's black Superstars (below) and beneath that a Stan Smith style from the Blue Series called Tron.



For the most part, however, the program is starting to feel like a warmed-over ploy. Now I understand Adidas's pickle--the Superstar is an all-time classic and it's tough to reinvent the wheel, but one of the complaints I hear about Adidas from retailers is that its men's lifestyle product is always the same old same old.

And my question is this, if the Superstar is to Adidas as the Air Force One is to Nike, what is Adidas's equivalent to Jordan? Answer: Adidas doesn't have one, which, frankly, just aint right given that Adidas has a very legitimate heritage in basketball. (In fact, footwear buyers tell me all the time that not only does Adidas not have a line as legendary as Jordan, it doesn't even play a decent second to Nike in basketball.)

And if you want any more proof that this program is problematic, look no further than this style, which is a Foot Locker exclusive:

Dudes, if you want to create a program that's built on uniqueness, the last thing you want to do is to give it to the most massive athletic footwear retailer in the world.


The Humanity Critic said...

Some of those shoes are dope.

Lois said...

Yup, some of them are dope and I give Adidas credit for taking color and graphic design to the next level for a mainstream customer. My complaint is that Adidas needs to create new and just as hype profiles.