PORTLAND, United Kingdom – Nike just released its biggest sneaker release thanks to a cartoon bunny and Michael Jordan.
In December, Shoemaker’s brand Jordan began selling the Space Jam XI, celebrating the 20th anniversary of the 1996 comedy starring the basketball legend alongside characters from Looney Tunes. Buyers have gone mad.
“The Space Jam XI was the largest and most successful shoe launch in Nike history,” Trevor Edwards, president of Nike Inc., said in a conference call with analysts Tuesday. He did not disclose the sales figures.
The sneaker is a reissue of the Air Jordan XI that debuted in the original film. The new $ 220 shoe has a black mesh uppers with patent leather, white on the sides, and translucent blue outsoles. The number 45 (not Jordan’s original 23 – he came out of retirement wearing the 45) and the Jumpman logo are sewn on the back. It comes in a special edition box.
The Space Jam shoe was a bright spot in Nike’s otherwise bleak quarter, as stocks fell amid investor fears Nike was losing market share to rivals Adidas AG and Under Armor Inc.
Retro styles like the Space Jam kicks are having a fashion moment and Nike, based in Beaverton, Oregon, is riding that wave. Flashbacks for shoes such as the Nike Air Zoom Generation and the Adidas Stan Smith have appeared in the market. Last year, heirloom styles were the fastest growing shoe category.
Space Jam has become a cult classic decades after its initial release. The story of a basketball star teaming up with the wacky toons of Warner Bros. to thwart the evil plans of the Moron Mountain aliens is a flagship film for Generation X nostalgia. A theme song video has over 26 million views on YouTube and the original Space Jam website remains live, retaining its old-fashioned graphics from a bygone internet age.
For Nike, the participation of celebrities and athletes is worth the high price. Performance sportswear companies spend significantly more on marketing, as a percentage of sales, than regular clothing companies because recommendations can have a big impact on sales, said Simeon Siegel, analyst at Instinet. Quadruple NBA MVP LeBron James signed a lifetime deal with Nike in 2015, worth an estimated over $ 1 billion. Nike’s ability and willingness to pay for famous names makes it possible to produce the best-selling hits, like Kyrie 3 by Kyrie Irving and KD9 by Kevin Durant.
“They decided to spend this huge amount of money because the endorsements create value around these launches,” Siegel said. “Without the approval, these sneakers are just another sneaker.”
By Kim Bhasin; publisher: David Rovella.