Now, let’s look at the past:
A decade ago, Reebok tried to commercialize their relationships with artists Jay Z and 50 Cent, two very important artists of the time. I was in the Villa store on N. Broad in Philly for the first S. Carter drop (Shawn Carter is Jay Z’s real name). The shoes sold out very quickly. The atmosphere was electric.
Reebok decided to try to build on that small success, by making many more pairs and opening up to a much broader distribution. The next, slightly larger, delivery did very well, so Reebok ramped up production even more. At the same time they made the G-Unit shoe for 50 Cent, again trying to commercialize the relationship.
Both mass market efforts failed miserably. There simply was not enough of a market for the amount of pairs manufactured. Markdowns were taken, orders cancelled and the bulk of the shoes were liquidated through off price retailers. No further shoes were released and the relationships ended.
Kanye West and Pharrell Williams are both highly regarded music artists and cultural icons, just as Jay Z and 50 Cent were. This is where the question arises: will the recent collaborations aid in the overall sales of adidas?
Brands who try to commercialize limited edition products do so at their own peril. If history repeats itself the adidas/West and Williams collaborations will not be commercially successful.
Although it’s a rather bold statement, I can’t say that I disagree with the facts of the argument.