by: KP – Warrior Hockey Marketing
When we first previewed our Covert QRL Throwback product line last year at our product review meetings, I had an instant wave of nostalgia hit me.
Chris, our head of player product, walked the group through some design boards with a product strategy that explained building a limited release line of product that was influenced by our first lines of sticks. It was an amazing idea, blend some of what made Warrior stand out when we first hit the market 10 years ago, while building our very best performing product of today.
The case was pretty simple and made sense. These types of throwback products are prevalent in the fashion and the footwear industry. Here, Chris gave an example of how Nike created a lifestyle shoe from what was once a technical running shoe at the time, the Nike Air Max. The other influence from footwear can be the business model of releasing very limited quantities during a short selling period. This type of shoe-hype release causes the product to be more special and sought-after. The term “Limited Edition” and “Special Edition” has been thrown around in hockey sticks way too much (cough* Bauer), so we wanted this to be a real limited, special product. More on that later.
From a marketing standpoint, I was sold from the outset. This gave Warrior a tremendous opportunity to recognize a time when these sticks were released and re-ignite the initial buzz our brand enjoyed when Kris Draper first stepped on the ice using the “Starskie”.
Ten years ago, Warrior shook the hockey business on many levels. From our iconic and immediate brand-name impression, to our loud and bright graphics, to our unique and in-your-face marketing, Warrior made an impression on the hockey business immediately.
We started our first NHL season with 40 NHL pros and grew that to over 80 in one season. This pro explosion was due to Warrior’s acquisition of Innovative Hockey. Which gave us immediate pro access and our own factory in North America to turn product quickly and control quality. Many pros already using Innovative (Fedorov, Kovalev, Roberts, Draper) easily transitioned to Warrior. Well, after they got over the graphics.
We didn’t open every retail outlet to our product, which created demand and garnered Warrior a niche position with the dealers we did choose in the USA and Canada.
Hockey players, especially in Canada, were ready for a new, young brand to shake up the locker rooms. While other companies were celebrating over 100 years in the business, Warrior was speaking to young players who were not interested in “their dad or grandpa’s stick company”.
Here’s an example of where we’ve been and how far we’ve come – an internal hype video we made at our 5yr anniversary meeting (2010).
So with that “rich” brand DNA mixed with our latest, Lightning Quick technology, what was the outcome you may ask? Chris and our product design teams did an incredible job of mixing our Covert QRL stick technology and art structure with some of the graphic elements of our most iconic stick models from our infancy. And similar to our product distribution model in the early years, a limited quantity of sticks will be available to a limited number of dealers in the USA and Canada.
Covert Super MacDaddy (QRL-2016) compared to the Original MacDaddy Grip (2007)
Covert Super Dolomite (QRL-2016) compared to the Original Dolomite Clear (2007)
Covert Dolomite (QRL4-2016) compared to the original Dolomite Grip (2007)
Covert MacDaddy (QRL5-2016) compared to the original MacDaddy Grip (2007)
Tune in next week as I explain the differences between each stick in the line leading into launch day October 28.