The Nike Twitter Release System Is Totally Surreal (And Pretty Brilliant)

It makes no sense that millions of people wait in all-night lines to spend $200 on basketball shoes, and it makes even less sense that human beings would actually riot over shoes. But this is the reality Nike's inherited, and to help stop the violence, they're actually taking the surrealism up a notch. Because what's the only thing more ridiculous than hundreds of adults waiting in line all night? Hundreds of adults forming an orderly procession on Twitter.

The details, via Nike Blog:

The Twitter RSVP Process:

  • On the RSVP date, our store will send a tweet at a random time to begin our Twitter RSVP process, including a product specific hashtag (#tag).
  • Once registration is open, you must Direct Message ("DM") the store within 60 minutes. The DM must include:
  1. The product-specific #tag tweeted by the store
  2. The last 4 digits of your State/Passport/Military/School ID number
  3. Your shoe size (limit one).
  • Confirmations from the store will be sent via DM to those who have successfully secured their requested size. Shoes will be awarded on a "first respond, first serve" basis.
  • Confirmed recipients must pick up their product (in person w/ identification) from the store on the day of launch. Unclaimed product will be announced on Twitter and will be re-released at the store’s discretion.

How do you properly RSVP through DM? Here’s an example:

  • Store Tweet:
    Twitter #RSVP is now open for the Air Foamposite One.#Electrolime
  • Consumer Response (DM):
    #Electrolime, 4253, 10.5

Twitter RSVP Terms and Conditions:

  • One item allowed per person, even if you receive two confirmations of successful registrations. Abuse of this rule may result in denial of purchase or entry to future launches.
  • Confirmed recipients must provide a valid ID that matches the last 4 digits used for RSVP.
  • Size cannot be changed once it has been confirmed to a person through Twitter RSVP.
  • Resell or trade of Twitter RSVP confirmation is prohibited.
  • Twitter RSVP confirmation is not transferable and not redeemable for cash or for credit towards any purchase.
  • Lines will not be allowed to form outside the store for this release.

  • Launch process is always subject to change at any time at the discretion of Nike, Inc.
  • True, the idea of a "Twitter release" sounds as obnoxious as when the NBA let Twitter vote on the Dunk Contest. HOWEVER... If you look close at Nike's plan, it's pretty brilliant.

    As long as stores force customers to present a valid ID, the human element of Twitter should keep people from gaming the system -- the biggest problem with selling anything on the internet. If anyone abuses the system in some way, Nike's got their name and ID, and they're banned from future releases. (That alone is enough to scare a true sneakerhead into conformity.) And, the obvious point: By eliminating any and all lines, would-be rioters disappear. People who miss out on shoes will still be unhappy, but they won't be in the middle of a huge crowd when they find out.

    For now this system's limited to Nike stores across America (all the store accounts are listed at the bottom here), but if it's successful, it'll only be a matter of time before this becomes the standard for most other sneaker boutiques in major cities.

    In other words, not only do we live in a world where anarchy accompanies the release of 15 year-old, $200 sneakers, but the smartest solution to the anarchy involves Twitter, "DM'ing" and hashtags.

    2012, y'all!

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