Nike

I See You

South Africans typically greet each other with the Zulu word Sawubona--Sawa for short--which translates literally to "I see you." But the greeting has a deeper, transcendent meaning as well which can best be understood thusly: “I recognize not only your physical form but your humanity. On its most molecular level, Sawa is an articulation of solidarity with other human beings, and it helps strengthen a sense of community and belonging. Iconic South African figures such as former President Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu credit the double entendre with helping sustain freedom fighters during the country’s dark days of apartheid. Building community is also the key to creating the quality content that is central to effective brand marketing strategies. [...]

What can we learn from Sports Brands? #7 – The Brand

Similar to Joe DiMaggio’s, the former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick is tall and  lean, with the effortless gait– and velocity– of a gazelle. But Kaepernick’s Nike ad campaign, introduced on the opening weekend of the NFL’s 2018 season, is as jarring as DiMaggio’s Mr.Coffee commercials were reassuring. With his billowing Afro and a black turtleneck sweater, Kaepernick appears on screen, resembling your uncle only if your uncle was Huey Newton, his voice narrating a script that urges the audience to build a world that is the equal of their dreams. The tagline is a reference to Kaepernick’s NFL career, aborted by his peaceful protests against police violence “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” The controversial ad [...]

What can we learn from Sports Brands? #45 – The Brand

The story, perhaps apocryphal, goes something like this. At the height of his fame in the early 1990s, Michael Jordan’s mother was exhorting her son to endorse the Democrats’ African-American nominee for North Carolina’s U.S. Senate seat, held, at the time, by the polarizing Republican, Jesse Helms. Jordan declined, explaining that “Republicans buy shoes too.” Michael Jordan may be the most ambiguous brand in the history of sports marketing. On the one hand, he has no peers; his collaboration with Nike put the sports apparel juggernaut on the map, and even to this day, a generation after his playing heydays, his Air Jordan brand shoes are a hot ticket. On the other hand, however, what brand other than Nike [...]