You might be struggling to pay your bills these days, but if you’re an enthusiast Michael Jordan’s Air Jordan sneakers you’ll soon be paying more for your kicks. When the new Air Jordan 2009 hits shelves, its retail price will be an astounding $190, up $15 from the most recent model.
Of course, His Airness thinks you should just be accepting the price hike as part of having an elite product. As he told CNBC’s Darren Rovell, “you don’t buy a Ferrari and expect to get a Volkswagen price.” Actually, Mike, most people would be happy with a Yugo these days. Does Starbury still make those cheap shoes?
In his interview with Rovell, Jordan tries to justify the markup by atempting to make people forget that it’s just a freaking shoe:
We feel like we puit as much energy as much technology into the shoe and the toughest thing is trying to establish what that value is. In the past, we’ve established what the value is being a premium product. Over the last couple years it’s been $175 and we’ve brought it up another 15 bucks because I think a lot more innovation and technology has been put into the product. Is it a tough price point? Yeah, you can say that. But when you think you’ve built the best product, obviously you feel like it has a certain value.
Until a shoe is paying my bills, programming my DVR, and making me a cup of tea, I don’t think “technology” is justification for anything.
The rest of the interview is your average branding speak, although it shows how seriously Jordan takes his brand. He even says he’d like for his brand to stand alone as Nike’s equal someday (although he might want to keep those aspirations a little quieter since, you know, Nike is his parent company).
There is one amusing little bit from the interview. Even Mike would like to forget that he ever played again after shoving Bryon Russell to the ground in ‘98:
Obviously my legacy was when I played the game of basketball. I haven’t played since 1998 — we forgot about Washington D.C. (laughing) — and for whatever reason, we’ve been able to maintain that focus with our consumer with that business within the business.
Rovell didn’t ask Jordan if he was aware that he was supposed to be running a basketball team right now.