Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Speed of Sales Success In "Urban" Viral Marketing

Building Street Credibility...

There is a recent case study that demonstrates the speed of Urban viral marketing without the use of mass marketing. General Market agencies will hide this case study because it demonstrates dramatic sales succes without spending a large advertising budget. The case study is Starbury Sneakers:

Early 06: Stephon Marbury cuts deal with Steve and Barry’s to help market high quality $15 basketball sneakers.

July/Early Aug 06: Marbury does one-on-one marketing at key inner city street courts in New York area (Bronx, Harlem, 4th Street, Coney Island, Queens, etc.)

Early August 8/3-8/17, 06: Starbury sneakers start getting posted up on Topix, Slam, Yard Barker, VBulliten and a variety of Urban Youth boards.

August 17, 06: Starbury Sneakers start to hit stores (with no advertising) only viral PR. (See story below about the lines at the stores. NPR reported people leaving their homes at 5AM to wait on lines.

August 17, 06: Starbury Sneakers are up on EBAY

August 16-30, 06: General market communications vehicles finally “Open their Eyes” and see what they have missed. The Starbury Sneakers story runs on NPR, Slate, ESPN, NY Times, Christian Science Monitor, etc.

August 29, 06: My son gets a viral email from friends on his phone about Starbury sneakers

September 1, 06: My son, a 13 year old Anglo male in Florida (who does not play basketball) asks me for a pair of Starbury sneakers. I ask: What are they? and did some research.

April 5, 07: General market TV (NBC) does a story on Stephon Marbury and the success of Starbury Sneakers. NBA star sells $15 sneakers - New York Knicks star Stephon Marbury makes sneakers affordable.

Starbury sneakers took about 45 days to reach my son…that is how fast Urban Mindset Viral marketing is (without traditional media vehicles). The success vehicles for Starbury sneakers were one-on-one marketing, urban bulletins and viral PR driving $7 million in sales the first week. I had to drive to Orlando from Ft. Lauderdale to purchase Starbury sneakers for my son.

Who developed and executed this initiative? The Mastermind Group (New York) -


Here is what was posted on the message boards:
Stephon Marbury to release $15 Starbury Sneakers

Saw the interview he had n he was sayin how they are the same quality as other basketball sneakers but affordable.

1st off ..... if thats true than the sneaker industry is is fuckin us over

2nd ..... i think its a great idea for him to do this cause he's looked up to in NY especially n thatll save parents and kids money ...... i know i always wanted jordans n whatnot n never fuckin got em

with that said tho i just cant see them bein nice n for some reason idk if i could rock sneakers for 14.99 ..

drop ya thoughts ....

PRESS and Background:

Thursday, August 17th, 2006

Starbury’s Sale

in Uncategorized, kicks, The Links by Lang Whitaker, NBA

by Lang Whitaker

Last night I wrote a post about the launch party for Stephon Marbury’s new line of budget sportswear and shoes. You guys did a lot of talking about it, too, and while we all agreed that it was great that Stephon was trying to do something different, I was curious how well the shoes would sell. Because to be honest, sometimes the only reason people buy shoes is because they are expensive. While what Stephon is trying to do — making shoes and clothes that have quality but are actually affordable — is fantastic. But would anyone actually buy the stuff?

Well, I just got word that when the Steve and Barry’s store in Manhattan Mall opened this morning, there were about 500 people in line outside the store. The people came charging in when the doors opened, and the store completely sold out of Steph’s shoes. Really. They were bringing in shoes from the back, people kept coming in to get their kicks, and even the actual Steve and Barry were having to work the registers to help get people through there.

The only downside is that because of the low price-point, the store only made $7 profit. Kidding!!

For real, that scene wasn’t only in Manhattan. Stores in Kansas and Michigan had similar runs on the Starbury shoes, and I was told that nobody’s exactly sure how well they did at the other Steve and Barry’s stores because all of their stores were so much busier than they thought they would be that by this afternoon they hadn’t had a chance to tally things up and see where they stood just yet.

I know it’s been less than one day, but if this stuff I’m hearing is true (and I have no reason not to believe it), then I wonder what all this means in the longer run? Is there a real, hungry market there for low-priced shoes? Shaq’s the only current player (respect to Hakeem for trying it years ago) who’s tried something similar, but his went for $40. For that price, you could buy two pairs of Starbury shoes.

Knicks' Marbury Launches Cheap Sneaker Line
by Anne Hawke

Stephon Marbury unveils his new $15 sneakers in New York City, Aug. 16, 2006. AP

Morning Edition, August 31, 2006 · Prickly. Self-centered. Overpaid. These are some adjectives that have been used to describe New York Knicks point guard Stephon Marbury over the years.

But Marbury's latest off-court mission -- to share the love, as he says -- might just earn him comparisons to philanthropists and civil rights pioneers.

In a world of multi-million dollar shoe endorsements by NBA players, Marbury is sponsoring low-cost athletic wear and a $15 basketball shoe.

NEW YORK -- Want to be like Steph? Well, it won't cost you much.

Stephon Marbury now is endorsing a sneaker that costs just $14.98, a pittance when compared with the often daunting prices that companies such as Nike and Reebok charge for their footwear.

Marbury makes sure ballers don't have to be 'ballers' to rock his footwear. (AP)
The "Starbury One," a sneaker designed by Steve & Barry's University Sportswear, will go on sale Thursday.

The New York Knicks guard hooked up with the low-priced apparel company after Marbury's marketing representatives spoke with Steve & Barry's about other marketing opportunities. When Marbury heard about the company's sneakers, he quickly agreed to endorse them.

He is expected to wear the sneakers during games next season.

"We got to know Stephon the man vs. Stephon the basketball player that we read about and saw on television, and we immediately saw how passionate he was about this vision," said Howard Schacter, Steve & Barry's chief partnership officer. "We also came to quickly learn he has a credibility, a street credibility."

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