An email landed in my inbox today. It posed a question, a question without a question mark. I just wanted to touch base and see if you would be interested in talking about our new soccer product, PowerCleatz, it said, tantalizingly. “PowerCleatz?” I asked myself, possibly on the verge of being intrigued by what I could only imagine to be new superboots infused with amazing technology that required the use of the word “power” and that anachronistic 90s marketing “z”. What amazing Power will said PowerCleatz give me?
But PowerCleatz aren’t cleatz at all, it turns out. They aren’t even cleats, with the proper “s” on the end, like we spell it in the year 2012. They’re bits of plastic, designed to slip over the top of a soccer shoe. This is meant to improve shooting power (ahah!), control, and accuracy.
PowerCleatz are equipped with a concaved ridge to increase kicking accuracy, a hydrocarbon polymer springboard to give power, and flattened sides to exponentially assist in control of the ball. PowerCleatz are manufactured from a proprietary patented plastic compound that provides excellent memory (it returns to its original shape when removed from the shoe), tackiness for ball control, cushion for foot protection and durability (expected life is one to two seasons of normal use).
So that’s nice. I mean, as strange soccer contraptions go, PowerCleatz are far from the most ridiculous. The name is terrible, but the actual product almost sounds like something worthwhile. A little like buying Andy Carroll for £35 million almost sounds like a way to improve scoring punch.
But the story here isn’t the PowerCleatz themselves. No, the patented “Edge” technology (I’d like to see that patent number, if you please) isn’t nearly as interesting as the lengths to which the PowerCleatz people are going to sell you your own pair of PowerCleatz.
You might have already watched the video at the top. If so, watch it again. Really pay attention. There’s joy there.
First, as we note that our host is poorly mic’d so the video sounds like it was recorded in a bathroom, we are introduced to the concept of the “voccer”, a “marginal soccer player who never meets peak performance.” Of course this information is delivered by our host (whose ability to change character through the cunning use of wardrobe is laudable) in a pseudo-German accent that I’m going to assume is a nod to Freud. That doesn’t make any sense (unless you’re buying that Freud is an appropriate historical figure to represent intelligence, which is…well, no), although it’s intriguing from a completely unintentional meta standpoint. I digress.
The voccer himself is apparently a nerdy character who wears argyle, taped-up glasses, and has curly, unkempt hair. The message is clear: Don’t be a voccer.
In order to not be a voccer, you need PowerCleatz. PowerCleatz are the alternative to your laser-guided, USB-port fanciness. PowerCleatz may look like molded plastic, but don’t be fooled. These things are FIFA approved.
Except, I’m not sure that’s entirely true. FIFA’s website doesn’t mention anything about approving soccer products that aren’t balls. Yelling “FIFA approved”, showing a fake “FIFA approved” stamp on screen and putting the small “FIFA quality” seal at the bottom of the PowerCleatz web page doesn’t actually make them “FIFA approved.” Of course, FIFA will probably approve anything if you give them a little bit of money (I’m thinking about having my design for a soccer ball on a bungie cord attached to a kiddie pool “FIFA approved”), so I could be way off base.
PowerCleatz. Plastic covers for your boots. Probably not FIFA approved. Doesn’t seem to be anything particularly powerful about them. Still want to try a pair out. I’m desperate to avoid becoming a voccer.
I’m not sure this is a good idea though. That looks like Messi, with photoshopped PowerCleatz on his boots. Hmm.
I think PowerCleatz are going to need some PowerLawyerz.