Sports

What can we learn from Sports Brands? #5 – The Brand

Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio, Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you, With his bantamweight’s physique, and graceful gait,  Giuseppe Paolo DiMaggio–better known as a Joltin’ Joe–was the New York Yankees center fielder between 1936 and 1951. The son of an immigrant San Francisco fisherman, and Marilyn Monroe’s second husband, the Hall of Famer was also a symbol of America’s halcyon days before the country erupted in tribal clashes and civil unrest in the 1960s. That iconic quality made DiMaggio not just a lyrical touchstone for Simon and Garfinkel’s soundtrack for the movie, The Graduate, but also a uniquely successful brand in American marketing history. He hawked a New York bank, Bowery Savings and Loan, Wheaties, and [...]

Serena – The Brand

“If you were a tennis player, who would you want to be like?” an unseen interviewer asks a young gap-toothed Serena Williams. The Gatorade commercial then goes on to document the prodigy’s spectacular career, its breathtaking triumphs and heartbreaking defeats and, mostly, the grace with which she has handled being one of the most celebrated–and criticized– athletes in American history. The commercial returns to a beaming Williams, who finally responds; “Well, I’d kind of like everybody to be like me.” It is a glorious answer, and the capstone to a transcendent career. In the world of brand marketing, there has never been anyone quite like Serena Williams, the winner of 23 Grand Slams, who has sold everything from Gatorade [...]

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 [...]