In December 2013, Kanye West left Nike for Adidas. Fast forward to today, Adidas is riding a buzz-wave of sneaker and pop-culture. It is both directly and indirectly tied back to Kanye and his Yeezy clothing and shoe line. Adidas was set on using a different endorsement technique from Nike.
Instead of limiting the creative control of product development, Adidas saw this collaboration as a ‘joint venture’. It is to give the celebrity partner the sense of having creative input and strategies. This includes them having a say in the go-to market strategy and tactics.
If you ask any ‘sneakerhead' about the coolest ‘kicks’ around, the answer will very likely be the Yeezy Boost 350. In 2015, the Adidas Yeezy Boosts won the FNAA Shoes of the Year Award, another evidence of the success of the Kanye West and Adidas Originals collaboration. It is no surprise that Adidas sales increased by 14%.
How exactly did the Yeezy Boost 350s sell out in 12 minutes and become the most coveted sneaker out at the moment?
1. Target the right celebrity for endorsement to make sure the product is always in the media’s eye.
Celebrity endorsement is one of the most powerful word-of-mouth (WOM) marketing tool available and generates engagement amongst today’s tech-savvy, trend-conscious youth. The target audience of the Yeezy collection are fashion-conscious millennials with high purchasing ability to keep up with the trend. And the way to keep up with trends are by keeping up with celebrities on their social media feeds.
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2. Kanye personally endorses the brand, wearing his design in concerts, award events and what not.
Kanye is highly regarded as a celebrity fashion icon. He has a huge following for his provocative views and tastes. Weeks prior to the launch of a new collection of Yeezy, Kanye proudly wears his personal design to events where paparazzi and fans are eager to catch a glimpse of the sneakers. This is a way to build up the hype way before the official launch.
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3. Limited number to build exclusivity and hype.
Yeezy Boost might be the perfect definition of demand exceeding supply. With each seasonal release of the Yeezy Boost, only a limited number of pairs are made available worldwide. The ‘average consumer’ can’t simply hope to walk into the nearest Adidas store to purchase a pair.
Time and effort are needed to keep up with the pre-launch news and the actual launch date. Getting a pair at a retail price would require you to count on your lucky star. This exclusivity generates tons of WOM around the product because everyone will likely be talking about trying to get it or how they got it.
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