Flubber Shoe Ban by NBA Will Cause Sales to Jump!

First it was performance-enhancing drugs and now it’s performance-enhancing shoes that are banned in sports. That’s right; performance-enhancing shoes have been banned by the NBA. The ban is a first for the league but I predict that censoring the new shoes will cause sales to jump out of the gym. This begs the question; has “flubber” finally made it to the NBA?

Not exactly but still, Fred MacMurray might be rolling over in his grave. Fred played Ned Brainard in the 1961 movie The Absent Minded Professor and Robin Williams later played the professor in the 1997 remake of the Disney classic which was renamed Flubber. You might recall Professor Brainard invented the substance known as “flubber” which was short for “flying rubber.” Flubber created amazing bounce to whatever it was applied to. If you’ve seen the movie then no doubt you remember seeing his college basketball players jumping as high as the gym ceiling during an important game as they trounced their opponent.

So thesenew shoes don’t exactly give the same jump as flubber but supposedly the new $300 shoe will give an “unfair competitive advantage” because it enhances a player’s vertical leap. My intent today isn’t to delve into the specifics of the shoes but rather the psychology of buying so if you want to read the full story jump over to this site; Bizmology.
Why do I predict sales of the new shoes will increase dramatically? In a word, scarcity. This principle of influence tells us people value things more when they think they are less available or diminishing. If you read Influence Science and Practice you’ll see that censorship creates a form of scarcity. The makers of the shoe also recognize this and are gearing up for higher sales.
While the shoe is no less available the perception that’s created by the ban will play on the psychology of the young athlete looking for an edge. If they’re not banned from high school or college you can bet your last dollar kids will buy them. And even if schools do ban them, that doesn’t extend to playgrounds across the country where the greatest numbers play the game. It may be a “performance enhancing shoe” but it’s not as bad as the performance enhancing substances many athletes put into their bodies so what kid wouldn’t want these shoes for pickup games?
This is no different than golf balls that are banned because they fly farther or certain golf clubs that give more distance. Many weekend golfers could care less what the PGA says because they want to feel like Tiger, Phil and the rest of the tour pros when they crush their drives on the first tee in front of their buddies.
You’ve probably heard the familiar saying, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity.” Sometimes “bad publicity” just makes us want to see, hear, touch, taste or do the thing that’s supposedly “bad” even more. I’m not the only one who thinks this.
“There is no such thing as bad publicity except your own obituary.” Brendan Behan
“The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.” Oscar Wilde
One last point; the shoe maker couldn’t afford all the publicity they’re currently getting – for free I might add – because of this controversy. I first learned about it on CNN so I’m sure the story will make its way to other news networks, sports casts and most importantly, ESPN.
Beyond the interesting phenomenon I’ve described I encourage you to think about yourself, your product or your ideas. What are some truly unique things, or combination of things you could bring to the forefront that would allow you to incorporate scarcity to create a heightened desire? Figure that out, ethically leverage it and I guarantee desire for you, your product or your ideas will jump too.
Brian, CMCT
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.
4 replies
  1. Orem Chiropractor - R. Ned McArthur, D.C.
    Orem Chiropractor - R. Ned McArthur, D.C. says:

    Interesting article Brian. While I agree the "Banned by the NBA" is a great coup for this company I believe most consumers would be disappointed with their results. If a professional athlete can get a 1/2% (or whatever it actually happens to provide) improvement that's meaningful to them and worth the expense.

    The typical "weekend warrior" though is liable
    to be disappointed because his skills are so
    lacking that 1/2% improvement is meaningless.

    The typical

  2. Brian
    Brian says:

    Sometime perception is reality. If people believe they'll play better they just might. It may not be the 1 1/2% extra jump but it's what the shoe made them think. How about Air Jordans? No one who wears those really plays like Mike but they like to believe they can. It will be interesting to see what happens. Soon another shoe will get the technology and the scarcity principle won't apply as much.


  3. Paul C
    Paul C says:

    Yes, I agree 100%. Scarcity is in full effect here. And to a certain degree, reciprocity as well (What will it do for me? A lot!). And soon, social proof.

    Getting banned for providing something so good that it improves your game will skyrocket their sales and their name. Pretty soon, it will be the Hummer of shoes and new designs will come out to cater to a larger market.

    Along with your last comment (perception is reality), wearing the shoes could actually intimidate the competition – Even if it's all an illusion.

  4. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    I think a big reason the sales will jump because of this is because people will believe that the shoes make you better at basketball. The NBA banning it makes people less skeptical about it not being able to improve their game. The perception from the NBA ban validates the shoe's power somewhat.



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