Prince Reveals Beast XP
January 18, 2011
For the past six months, Prince has embarked on a completely new go-to-market strategy in the introduction of a key new string. “361 Nation,” the mysterious string that has been the focus of industry speculation since Wimbledon, is a new Prince string, called Beast XP. The USRSA has conducted a blind playtest of Beast XP 16, which will appear in the March 2010 issue of Racquet Sports Industry magazine.
Prince tells us that this new string and the creative campaign designed to generate industry buzz exemplify the kind of new thinking and direction that represents the standard of the “new Prince.” The company says the “361” in 361 Nation comes from the Pantone color of Prince’s green.
Prince says its goal was to develop a polyester string that exceeds the performance of the most popular existing poly’s in all critical properties. The company used high-speed video to capture dynamic behavior and ball rebound trajectories. Then Prince teamed with a polymer company, spending more than a year modifying the formula and testing performance. The string was tested with top junior and select tour players.
According to Prince, the Beast XP is the world’s first thermo-poly string, featuring a secret alloy additive, that delivers improved trajectory control and feel for extreme precision. The thermo in thermo-poly refers to a process of stretching and relaxing the string to “tune it” for optimized dynamic response. This process is designed to provide a string with consistent dynamic response to improve ball control; that performs well for all tensions, racquets and patterns; and allow high swing speed players to generate more spin. The choice of the green color was for visibility and brand identity. Prince tells us that Beast XP is designed to offer ultimate control and extreme precision.
Prince says in its testing, Beast XP produced up to 9% more spin than other strings in the market that are known for enhancing spin. Prince’s testing also found that shots hit with Beast XP rebound at a lower angle (up to 5%) than other poly’s. These lower rebound angles increase control by causing the ball to land shorter in the court. This allows players to swing faster and produce more spin with up to 14% better trajectory control, says the company.
Prince tells us that the entire 361 Nation to Beast XP program was kept secret even from most of their staff. The small team involved went to great lengths to promote the string without identifying it as a Prince product. They developed a website, www.361nation.com, with new content each week, which offered samples and rewards to registered users. The team seeded over 20,000 samples through global retail partners, VIPs, USRSA MRTs, and ERSA. All of these samples were in teaser packaging with reference only to the 361 Nation website (no reference to Prince). The team also used the samples and website to collect extensive feedback from users.
The website helped the team acquire more than 1,200 users in over 50 countries. According to Prince, the string was popular among juniors at IMG’s Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy and the most talked about new string on tennis message boards and chat rooms. Finally, Prince tells us that survey results of the 361 Nation players put Beast XP equal to or higher than other popular “poly-type” strings in Power, Feel, Comfort, Spin, Tension Maintenance and Durability.
Prince’s new website for the string, beastxp.com, includes product information as well as video testimonials from users.
Prince Beast XP Teaser Video