In the world of football boots, every launch and release of boots is given a certain tag to help it appeal to a particular audience. While the tag is mostly all marketing rhetoric by the brand, it is something that the consumer group, as a whole, has taken as a quick guide on which boot they should look for during their next boot search. People hunting for lightweight migrate toward the “speed” boots, purists and lovers of leather head to “heritage” style outings, and the biggest money-maker of recent years has been those hurtling towards anything given the label of “control.” While this stuff all borders near to a “boots by position” stance, it gives the consumer and company something that can be understood and marketed.
Sadly, this is where adidas gave very little help to the NitroCharge.
While the initial Nitro was an impressive first outing (and with our review of the most recent Nitro in the works), the first few ad campaigns were a bit off. Claiming to be looking for the “engine,” it seemed a decent enough concept until a few of the first professional players were chosen as faces of the boot. While Danielle De Rossi would be a great face for any boot, Dani Alves wearing a boot (that is so customized that it barely resembles a true NitroCharge) marketed to (what felt like) a box-to-box midfielder just felt odd. Couple that with a design that separated itself by really offering a little more protection than other boots on the market, and this boot slowly slipped towards the masses seeing it as a boot that specialized in protection…
Now, do not get us wrong, protection is a key element to any boot. However, in a market dominated by people looking for “speed,” “power,” “control,” or a number of other boot buzz words, a boot whose initial label is “protection” is not going to garner a ton of the market. This becomes even more true when people think that there are plenty of boots out there with adequate protection that offer some other added benefit.
In today’s boot market, your boot has to be quickly attached to something seen as a key/positive attribute. For lack of a better term, your boot really has to be seen as “sexy.” For the Nitro, players are not searching the web for something that gives them a little extra padding. Consumers are searching for something that they think can take their game to the next level…something that “protection” does not readily leap out and grab players as the “next level” step.
Considering our time with the boot, the way it feels, and the huge gap that currently exists in the market…it would have been perfect to take advantage of the Energy Pulse/Energy Sling and label this boot as a “power” boot. After the premature exit of the world from “power” boots and the creation of the massively successful “control” sector, a large chunk of fans began to clamor for a return to a thick boot that felt great driving through a shot. The Nitro could have fit that bill and all of its technology would have fit perfectly with any type of marketing campaign tilted towards “power.”
The NitroCharge 1.0 does not feel like it has an amazingly lengthy shelf-life. It is a quality boot, but it just feels like the fan-base does not exist and that the marketing does not exist in a way for Adidas to continue to push along with their other boots in the line-up. Keep an eye out for our review on the newest version, and tell us if you think the NitroCharge is already dying or if it will (one day) sit alongside the Predator as a boot silo giant. If it had been labeled as a “power” boot, there is no telling what could have happened…