“You Can’t Unionize if There’s No Store!”

PLUS: Nike’s dotBombs
May 31, 2023
Pictured: a scene from The Big Lebowski (1998).

Say what you will about Nike’s “Our Force 1” NFT drop, but at least it’s an ethos… an ethos that they can’t seem to find enough customers to buy into.

Originally slated for a May 8th drop, the first product release from Nike was delayed a week from its original release. The digital blind boxes from the long-promised .SWOOSH platform were delivered to some wallet holders on May 15th, and access to purchase made available soon after.

And then… they.. just… sat. 

Emails have been flooding into early adopter inboxes to purchase multiple packs of the some 87,000 available. “There are 600K registered .SWOOSH users and each had an opportunity to mint 4x,” said analyst Michael Miraflor on Twitter. “I just expected the supply to go a lot quicker.”

Perhaps the reason is that nobody knows what the actual f*** it does. The roll-out of .SWOOSH has been sloth-like at best, with the earliest accounts established in fall of 2022. For $19.82, you get a picture of a rusty shoe box.

No, I’m not joking. This is it: 

What the team has failed to deliver in substance, they’ve made up for in endless promises. Open panels, 1-1 sessions, influencer messaging, and press tours. And now delays, sitting inventory, and questions about what the future holds — or if there will be a future at all?

An unfair comparison would be Adidas’ lightning-quick move into the NFT space in 2021. Their partnership with Yuga Labs in December of 2021 net them $22M on 29,000 minted tokens. Different market at a different time, sure. But moving quickly allowed them to capitalize on the craze of the moment, which now draws a stark contrast to Nike’s move that same week — the acquisition of RTFKT, a 3D fashion company with an NFT community.

In the seventeen months hence, one can only imagine that the Swoosh team was deep into an integration of RTFKT team into its own culture. The bright minds in Beaverton spent months in strategy, planning, and community development. But they missed the metaverse market moment, and this rollout feels more “too little, too late” than it does a glimpse of the future.

Whatever the future may hold for Nike, the present looks a bit like a rusty shoe box.

Today is the last day of Nike’s fiscal year, ending May 31.

— Phillip

P.S. The Infinite Shelf ladies are unpacking hard truths about the state of DTC today. Don’t have time for a podcast? Watch their Youtube Shorts over on our channel.

2023’s Most Trusted Brands. The Morning Consult has released its annual “Most Trusted Brands” study, which names Lysol, Kleenex, Amazon, and Cheerios in the coveted top-ten spots. New to the top ten this year is Amazon in the number-3 spot, as well as Dove. Falling out of the top rankings are CVS, The Home Depot, Colgate, and Clorox. 

It’s the Endel of the World as We Know It. UMG inked a deal this week with an AI startup that may bring us one step closer to algorithmically-generated artistic works. The partnership with Endel comes after Universal fought (and won) a copyright dispute in April against a deepfake track with a fictional duet of Drake x The Weeknd. The German startup had previously raised $20M in funding, and will allow UMG artists to “create science-backed soundscapes designed to enhance listeners’ wellness.”

More Sights & Sounds. Six Flags is piloting Amazon’s “Just Walk Out” technology at a New Jersey location this June. Apple is set to finally reveal its VR/AR/XR headset this year at its worldwide developers conference.

Keeping It Scrappy. Coach is hoping its new sub-brand, Coachtopia, will gain traction. The 1970s-esque line is made from mostly waste scraps of leather and recycled cotton, as well as other non-new materials.

Nike News. Nike is struggling to keep its product line fresh as Air Jordans and Air Maxes get too comfortable on shelves, and the company announced an executive shakeup this week in order to continue committing to innovation. At the same time, Nike’s close ties with Foot Locker are causing some major pains in the feet, as Foot Locker missed their earnings goals and analysts lowered their expectations of Nike because of it. Meanwhile, a creator in NYC is making mashup Air Force 1 Cowboy Boots out of his apartment.

If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Close ‘Em. Starbucks is working to shut down the two remaining stores in Ithaca, New York, the first regional Starbucks union that won its vote to organize just a year ago. The systematic shutdown of organized labor efforts in Starbucks stores now spans two eras of leadership, with veteran CEO Howard Schultz now back at the helm.

Suspended Animation. After shooting ultrasound signals into the brains of lab rats and thereby lulling them into a hibernation-like state, scientists are wondering if they can do this to humans, too. Specific use cases they are considering are people who are injured and in critical condition, or possibly even to aid people in long space flights to Mars. Real question though… why has humankind always been so obsessed with mind control?

Questioning Your Faith? Direct your inquiries to a chatbot. The B.H. Roberts Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting education and research relating to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints launched an AI chatbot trained to be knowledgeable about the LDS faith.

Subscribe to The Senses.

Commerce futurism.
Straight to your inbox.

Thank you for being a risk-taker.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Share This Post

Commerce futurism for the risk-takers.
Straight to your inbox.

By clicking Subscribe you're confirming that you agree with having The Senses delivered to your email address.
Thank you for subscribing.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. View our Privacy Policy for more information.