Products drops are a result of a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it culture
The Future. When it comes to consumer products, the “drop” has taken the place of traditional advertising campaigns or press conferences. Releasing things quickly, surprisingly, exclusively, and in a limited quantity is being used to break through the noise of the marketplace. Although an increasing number of consumers are getting irritated by the drop culture, the practice may start to reshape everything from services to food.
Branding with a bang
Although the idea for the product drop dates back to Tokyo streetwear in the 80s (and then streetwear everywhere else in the 90s), every brand is getting in on the drop game. WSJ breaks down the vibe shifts that led to drops.
- In a culture where everything is at our fingertips and seemingly always available, the idea of dropping a product creates a sense of its release being an “event” and that product is “scarce” and “exclusive — things that lead to higher sales.
- Now that e-commerce and social media are aspects of our daily existence, all a company or influencer needs to do is send a push notification that a drop is about to happen — instant buzz.
- When the product sells out, it intrinsically makes people excited for the next drops — the power of hype.
And with supply-chain issues crushing companies both big and small, drops can help limit expectations of how much of a product is available — having a hard time stocking inventory, just call it a limited-edition drop.
Also, for many brands, dropping products is simply an attempt at viral marketing. Get people excited for some exclusive item on TikTok — like Chipotle’s new Water Cup Candle — and you engineer major brand awareness.
But if everything is a drop, does it cheapen the meaning behind them? Doing a drop has completely taken over the mainstream, with Instagram even creating a dedicated digital marketplace for them (Instagram Drop, obviously).
At what point do people rebel against the idea and demand for an… ahem… on-demand shopping experience? Responses to constantly sold-out shoes on Nike’s SNKRS app show that customers are starting to unbox their disdain for the whole model.