The Phenomenon of Football Shoes

Marketing & Culture 2010 “The phenomenon of football shoes – what’s your color? ” Background Since the first classic football shoes were introduced in 18861, they were simple uniform brown/black leather shoes with studs. The one and only characteristic of the early football boot was to provide the player grip on the playing surface and prevent him from slipping on muddy or wet grounds. During the following decades the football shoe underwent several technical modifications, especially in terms of the material they were composed of.

Nevertheless, one particular characteristic all the mime remained the same: the color of the shoes, which was standard black. This aspect changed in the mid-ass, when manufacturers started to provide some world- class players with white shoes. These shoes where released on a basis of sponsoring deals to promote their products. By and by manufacturers launched football shoes in various colors and are enjoying great popularity. Big name companies such as Nikkei, Aids and Puma are releasing new special designed football boots frequently. Nowadays wearing clouded football shoes is very common, even in the lowest divisions and youth football.

In other words: it is not easy to find the original black clouded football shoe back on the pitch; blue, green, red, white, yellow, silver, gold and even pink are presently established colors for football shoes. However, in the football world this development is more and more meeting with critics. Most prominent disputer of the clouded football shoe is Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson: Under new rules Manchester United Junior players have been banned from wearing anything other than old-school black while on club business. Reason for this is that Ferguson is becoming concerned that some of United stars of he future were beginning to get ahead of themselves. 3 12 http://www. Owe. Com/about_6118591 _history-soccer-shoes. HTML http:// www. Guardian. Co. UK/football/2010/Feb./22/Manchester-united-premiering 3 http:// www. Dillydally. Co. UK/sport/football/article-1253304/Sir-Alex-Ferguson-continues- clampdown-cinematographers-United-academy-kids. HTML 2 Problem stating In this paper I want to tint out which social and market doctors nave led too rise tot wearing clouded football shoes in such a relatively short period of time.

Is it a question of fashion/style, a way of salesperson? Furthermore I want to create a connection to theories related to consumption and solidification. As football originally is recognized as a team sport where the members of the team build uniformity also visually by wearing the same shirts, in recent years single players are trying to come out of this uniformity by having extraordinary haircuts, tattoos and the above-mentioned colorful football shoes. I want to describe this development in terms of processes of differentiation and imitation. German Team 1994 – all players wearing the same black shoes. Source: http:// www. Welt. /sport/fastball/article 0133896/Matthews-Debut-weird-fur-Bulgarian- sum-Finale. HTML German Team 2010 – 6 out of 11 players wearing clouded football shoes. Source: http://www. Bulletproofing. De/blob/201 (H)7/unsatisfactory-Deutsche-for-deem- spiel-gene-spaniel. HTML 3 Theory and illustrations The enormous rise of the availability of clouded football shoes has different cohered causes. As mentioned before, a few famous footballers started wearing white football boots in the mid ass’s. This peculiarity extended to more and more professional footballers, later amplified by different colors and personalized printings on the hoes.

The players wearing this kind of special shoes are mainly characterized by a creative and appealing way of playing, connected to an extravagant attitude. In general, it can be said that these types of players are idols in the world of football. For many fans these players function as a role-model and are imitated in every possible way – for example by wearing the same football boots as the star players, the consumer tries to imitate his idol. Subsequently the sports- article companies took this aspect as an opportunity to launch the clouded football shoes on the broad nonuser market.

This resulted in a great success, clouded football shoes experienced enormous sales. Consumers adopted the new style of sportswear in a very short period of time. A reason for this behavior is the urge of the individual to create a self-definition, as defined in the article by McCracken (1986)4 where it says that “One of the ways individuals satisfy the freedom and fulfill responsibility of self- definition is through the systematic appropriation of the meaningful properties of goods. ” In relation to the choice of a clouded football shoe, the individual is choosing tool to express creativity and uniqueness.

This leads to the assumption that the black shoe is a standard – so consequently a shoe with bright colors makes the user protruding and special. The conscious choice of a clouded football shoe, which comparably can be referred as a styling issue is also validating the theory of social affiliation as described in the article of Thompson, Craig J. & Donna (1997)5 “Fashion meanings can be used to forge distinctions and to foster a sense of standing out, or they can be used to torte a sense tot affiliation Witt others and to tester an affirming ensue of social belonging. The last part of the quotation can be interpreted into the general perception of the football world as follows: As there are two basic types of players; the down to earth, hardworking defender and on the other side the creative, light-footed and entertaining attacking player, each group underlines their belonging within. So generally spoken the attacking players would wear the eye-catching colorful boots whereas the defenders give preference to the standard black shoes.

The broad offer of new football shoes goes parallel with the developments in the mineral fashion and clothing industry. In the course of the globalization, during the last decades the fashion industry experienced a large growth, leading to a stronger competition amongst suppliers. To attract the consumers’ attention and saturate their needs, companies are releasing new product lines 4 McCracken, Grant (1986), “Culture and consumption: A theoretical account of the structure and movement of the cultural meaning of consumer goods,” Journal of consumer Research, 13 (1986), 71-84. Thompson, Craig J. & Donna (1997), Speaking of Fashion: Consumers’ Use of Fashion Discourses and the Appropriation of Countervailing Cultural Meanings”, Journal of Consumer Research 24 (1): 15-42. 4 permanently. Ergo, the velocity of changing styles accelerated rapidly. The resulting development was that during time consumer needs generated to more extraordinary, eye-catching clothes to create an own, personalized style. In the course of the high competition amongst the suppliers, creativity in terms of product development became an important aspect.

Another important aspect is the stronger influence on the consumers created by the media, as quoted in the article of Bell, Russell W. GјLiz Gear & SёRene Aggregates (2003) 6 “Prior work also suggests that consumers willingly act as sorcerers’ apprentices in window-shopping, daydreaming, television viewing, magazine reading, Internet surfing, word-of-mouth conversing, and an often notes- casual observing of others’ consumption (Bell 2001; Bell et al. 1997;Breeders 1993)” The result of this is an intensification of marketing-actions.

In terms of promoting (clouded) football shoes in particular, sports-companies are making primarily use of famous football stars, which are sponsored by the firms. The world best football layers are basically contracted by the 2 biggest sports-articles manufacturers in the world: aids and Nikkei. These companies compete for highest market share with different players, but are using basically the same instrument: creating a desire. In this coherence, desire can be described as a longing for a person or object or hoping for an outcome. Desire is the incentive to take measures.

The factors determine a desire are described by Bell, Russell W. , GјLiz Gear & SёRene Aggregates (2003) 7 “Desires are nurtured by self-embellished fantasies of a wholly different self, and hey may be stimulated by external sources, including advertising, retail displays, films, television programs, stories told by other people, and the consumption behavior tot real or imaginary others. ” – In conjunction Witt the marketing-actions tot the big sports-articles manufacturers, one could assume that these companies try to create a desire towards the consumer of being one of the well-known football stars.

This desire is shaped by the above quoted external sources. Companies communicate messages like “be faster”, “be seen” and “be the best” to create the desire of being a second Lionel Mimesis or Christiana Ronald. Bell, Russell W. , GјLiz Gear & SёRene Aggregates: “The Fire of Desire: A Multi-Sited Inquiry into Consumer Passions”, Journal of Consumer Research, Volvo. 30, no. 3 (December), 326-351. 7 Bell, Russell W. , GјLiz Gear & SёRene Aggregates: “The Fire of Desire: A Multi-Sited Inquiry into Consumer Passions”, Journal of Consumer Research, Volvo. 0, no. 3 (December), 326-351. 5 Star-player Lionel Mimesis promoting a new aids oddball shoe. Source: http:// www. aids. Com/football/dc/products/off Nikkei-advertisement; special edition signed by star-player Christiana Ronald Source: http://www. Nikkei. Mom/nonnegotiable/homeland=en_KGB During my period both as a coach of a youth-football team as well as a player of the men ‘s team I experienced some significant differences concerning the choice of (clouded) football shoes.

For this article I contacted some of my former team-mates and players of the youth-team I coached, to get insight in their motivations to wear (or not to wear) clouded football shoes. According to the 15 year old Lukas his main motivation to wear a particular clouded boot was: “My teammates and friends Luck and Dennis showed up with these green Nine’s and I was Just wearing my boring ark-blue ones. I am already playing one and a half years with these shoes. So I also wanted to get those green Nikkei ‘s. Unfortunately I could t afford to buy them so I had to wait until my birthday. According to the theory of Consumption Practices and Identity in the article of Richard Elliot (2004) 8 this statement shows that both the influence of socially constructed resources, like in this case through the teammates, as well the structural/positional sources of the self – in this case the financial situation, is an important aspect to determine the “Sites of the Self-in-Action”. Another form of motivation can be seen in the statement of Luck (14), expressing a certain kind of desire: “My favorite player is Arcane Robber, he is so fast! In my team I am also the fastest player so I am the Robber in our team.

During the last World Cup I saw him playing with the new Nikkei 9TH so I definitely had to get them too! ” Bell, Russell W. , GјLiz Gear & SёRene Aggregates (2003)9 pointed out this aspect tot desire: But we tint that the person who tells strong desire NAS almost always actively stimulated this desire by attending, seeking out, entertaining, ND embellishing such images. ” Luck has also actively stimulated his desire, as he compares himself with his idol. Another motivation was expressed by Matthias (24): “With wearing these blue boots, it is fitting perfectly to our blue and white football shirt. … + Well, I am trying to look good in daily life – so why shouldn’t I do so on the football pitch? ” This explanation can be referred to styling issues. Matthias is focusing on looking good by creating a matching outfit. So in this case, wearing clouded football shoes would be a part of self-production created by styling and can e referred to the theories of consumption and self-production by Maguire, Jennifer Smith, Castaway, Kim (2008)10: “Style, a process of negotiating double binds, paradoxes and tensions, is a constituent practice of solidification. A contradictory meaning can be seen at the meaning of Holler (33):” No, I would never buy such a clouded shoe! I never even thought about it. We are on the football field and not at a fashion show… “. So when we refer to the different statements of the distinct persons we can broadly say that the younger generations (< 25) are more inclined to purchase oloured football boots than the older players (>30). An explanation of this could be that the emphasis in terms of self-production has a big impact on especially younger people.

This assumption can be seen back in the quotation of Maguire, Jennifer Smith, Castaway, Kim (2008)11 “In working on their appearances, young adults negotiate the competing demands of forging an identity in a consumer society – to fit in and be accepted, but at the same time to stand out as an individual. (Grown 1997)” 8 Elliott, Richard (2004), Making Up People: Consumption as a Symbolic Vocabulary for the Construction of Identity, in K. SisterΒΆm & H. Bricked, des. Elusive Consumption, Oxford: Berg, 129-143. 9 Bell, Russell W. , GјLiz Gear & SёRene Aggregates: “The Fire of Volvo. 30, no. (December), 326-351. 10 Maguire, Jennifer Smith, Castaway, Kim (2008), Looking good: Consumption and the problems of solidification, European Journal of Cultural Studies, 1 1(1): 63-81. 11 Maguire, Jennifer Smith, Castaway, Kim (2008), cultural studies, 1 1(1): 63-81. 7 Conclusion After analyzing the great success of the clouded football shoe in the modern football world, one can conclude that this phenomenon has different, coherent causes. Nowadays Football shoes can be referred as a styling issue, which is validating the theory of social affiliation and a part of solidification.

During the time the individual has developed an urge to create self-definition. To reach this self-definition, a clouded football shoe functions as a tool to express creativity and uniqueness. Furthermore the velocity tot changing styles accelerated rapidly because tot the stronger competition amongst suppliers in the course of the globalization in the past decades. This lead to more creativity in terms of product development – serving roundworm for developing those extraordinary football shoes.

Another important aspect is the stronger impact on the customer created by the media, which are making intensified use of advertising with football stars to create desire amongst the target group. Consumers are trying to imitate their idols, in this case by wearing the same (clouded) football shoes. Remaining determinative factors of the motivation to wear clouded football shoes are the strong influences of socially constructed resources, like the consumer behavior of teammates and friends as well as tutorial/positional sources of the self, for instance the material history and class position.

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