Companies Used to Announce Products. Now They ‘Drop’ Them.

Once upon a time, not that many years ago, most companies with important new products just announced them, perhaps with a press conference, and maybe a big advertising push.

These days, new products—not just from chic fashion brands but also fast-food chains and mattress makers—get “dropped.” And what that means, and why it’s become pervasive, says a lot about how the twinned technologies of social media and e-commerce have changed the way people shop—especially for Generation Z and millennials, for whom drops are almost inescapable.