Super Bowl Star Hopes Sock Collection Has Legs

Having shined on pro football’s biggest stage, NFL wide receiver Plaxico Burress wants to score as a fashion accessories playmaker.

Burress, now on the Pittsburgh Steelers roster, caught the winning touchdown pass for the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII (2008).  He has launched a line of high-end hosiery for men called The Plaxico Burress Collection.

For better or worse, being a pro athlete gets attention and opens doors unavailable to the average entrepreneur (even one who shot himself and served jail time for illegal gun possession).  Does Joe Designer get coverage in The New York Times and USA Today, among other media outlets?  No.

Is there a need and/or market for these $24 and $39 socks?  Who knows.  They sure are eye-catching and funky, though where the heck could the average guy where them?

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I wonder who Burress thinks his sweet spot is for customers.  Here’s what his website says:

“The collection caters to the fashion conscious man. With colorful, Modern Art inspired designs, that can be mixed and matched in seemingly unlimited combinations. These socks can be worn in accompaniment with casual and dress shoes, sneakers, or even formal shoes with a tuxedo. While still allowing the man wearing them to express his character and individuality.”

I figured one important sock feature would be highlighted on the website store, but it’s surprisingly not, and that’s sock size. As any guy with a 12+ shoe size knows, it’s hard to find the right size socks. They just aren’t carried in department stores (specialty stores and online ordering only).

The Burress socks can be purchased from his website and are supposed to hit retail stores soon.  It will be interesting to chart his distribution success rate.

Burress plans to expand the product line.  He told The New York Times:  “The ultimate goal is to get into bow ties, cuff links and belts.  Definitely belts. Come on, who doesn’t need a great belt?”

Maybe so.  But do we need a Plaxico Burresss belt?

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It’s not fair, but pro athlete name recognition opens business opportunity doors that the rest of us can’t access.  However, after that, the playing field begins to level.  At the end of the day, the products win or lose on their own merits.

Harvey Chimoff is a hands-on marketing leader and business-wide collaborator who builds marketing capabilities in B2B/B2C organizations that drive customer success.

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