The unprecedented marketing of Corteiz, the brand that created chaos in Paris

Mystery and word of mouth. This is the unique marketing recipe of Corteiz (or CTRZ), at the origin of the trendiest events in the world of “streetwear” since 2020. On Wednesday April 12, a new wild “drop” from the very young brand caused a crush scene in Paris, injuring six, including two minors hospitalized after feeling unwell.

As usual, Corteiz made the launch of his new basketball, in collaboration with the giant Nike, a real treasure hunt. The only way to get the shoes this time: receive a password via newsletter, to discover on the site the place and date of the “drop”.

Once in Place de la République, a RATP-style bus, flanked in large white letters with GPS coordinates, revealed to fans the final location of distribution of the precious Air Max 95 Corteiz at 190 euros. Only 600 pairs were available, for a crowd that probably doubled.

“One of the only ones to continue drops in physics”

At the beginning of 2022 in London, the brand had already innovated by offering its followers to exchange their down jackets from other brands for its “BOLO” model. Ten months later, they had to find an ephemeral stand at the Shepherd’s Bush market, still in London, equipped with exactly 99 pence, or about 1.12 euros, to obtain their new cargo pants exclusively.

Exceptional events, whose surprise effect allows a spotlight on the rest of the collections, and which Corteiz has made its trademark.

“It’s one of the only brands to continue to make physical drops, which have almost disappeared for a few years because they too often cause accidents”, notes Clément Petit, organizer of the Legit Sneakers resale basketball fairs. in Clermont-Ferrand.

Focus on authenticity

Born in 2017 in London, in the dormitory of a 20-year-old young man who calls himself Clint, the tiny brand quickly experienced dazzling success. Adopted by stars like rappers Drake or Stormzy, English singer Jorja Smith, or French footballer Eduardo Camavinga, she sells her collections in very small quantities, but at notoriously affordable prices.

“The goal is to keep a purchase price aligned with their target audience: young people between 15 and 25 years old, from backgrounds who are not necessarily well off, with whom they have formed a real community”, specifies Hannah Shakir, mistress lecturer specializing in fashion media coverage at London’s Condé Nast University of Fashion and Design.

“It’s a brand by the people, for the people, which relies on the principle of authenticity,” she continues. Like his label, whose logo represents the prison of Alcatraz, the brain of Corteiz appears as a protester. Evidenced by his mantra, “Rule the world” (rule the world, in English)and middle fingers raised on nearly every photo in her Instagram feed.

“Far from the Balenciaga sold at 500 euros”

“They are underground right down to their communications: Clint refuses interviews, the brand only advertises on its social networks… It contributes to the feeling of mystery and exclusivity,” notes Hannah Shakir.

“It’s a return to the base of the streetwear culture of the 1990s, far from the Balenciaga sneakers sold for 500 euros a pair that we get after virtual waiting lists,” adds the professor.

A philosophy that seems to find a broad echo among the youngest. If the brand strictly prohibits speculation on its products, this does not stop the most relentless. Some pairs are reselling today more than ten times their initial price on resale sites like TK Maxx, DePOP or Ebay.

Corteiz has, for the time being, refused all takeover and investment proposals, despite a business model “Which should not allow him to survive very long”, notes Hannah Shakir.

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