Monday, February 23, 2009

Just do it.

Surprise, surprise. When debating on what topic I should choose for my Customer Insights Current Topics Report, I wanted to do three things:

a. I wanted to do something that I would be really passionate about
b. I wanted it to be sports related
c. I wanted it to involve Nike

Lo and behold, I had already made my mind up without really thinking twice. My three points really (purposely) left me with no other choice. I have managed to make some sort of Nike shoe reference in all my previous blogs. Now I finally have a chance to actually make it the focal point.

In case it's not already clear, I plan on discussing Nike for my report. However, it is not entirely clear to me yet as to what exactly I will be focusing on.

Nike's a global marketing giant. The artist formerly known as Blue Ribbon Sports fascinates me in ways even I can't really completely understand. Nike's an athlete's way of nearly achieving invincibility. Throughout Nike's evolution, it has done things that are beyond abstract. Nike's advertising has always captivated me, particularly because of its versatility. Contrasting two Lance Armstrong commercials, one appeals on inspirational aspect, another aims to make you laugh.

The evolution of Nike from the late nineties' ways of targeting young basketball players to the 2007 way of targeting young basketball players really intrigues me. How is this segment different roughly 10 years later? Maybe more headbands and trash talk--however, how is the mindset different from the previous? How does Nike capture this? As far as I'm concerned, Nike is head and shoulders above the competition in terms of targeting young athletes and capturing their desires then ultimately channeling them onto a product to build a brand.

In my mind, Nike truly does it all. The ultimate definition of versatility, Nike always goes one step further in order to remain embedded in the consumer's mind. Brian Morrissey talks about how Nike allows its users to connect and share data through social networks in his "Why Nike Embraces Brand Utility" article. He talks about how Nike launched the "Ballers Network" on Facebook strictly for its young basketball addicts. Nike's goal is to "provide a useful service that enhances an athlete's enjoyment of his sport." To me, this goal corresponds with what Nike provides me on a mental, physical, and spiritual level.

The last question I would like to pose is how does this differ from, say, Adidas or Reebok? For the sake of argument, I will stick with Adidas because it does own Reebok.

Adidas appears to target a whole different segment. Interestingly enough, Adidas owns the license to make and distribute NBA products through a deal with the league about 2 years ago. Yet, I feel that when a young basketball player thinks Adidas, the associations that most often come to mind are soccer and "not cool" (just kidding... sort of). I own a pair of Adidas basketball shoes, and they are definitely not on par with my Nike basketball shoes. As a "baller" nowadays, Nike is your haven.

Adidas has inspirationally driven spots as well. Why do they not appeal on the same level as Nike's? I love Gilbert Arenas and his story, yet, his commercial would never make me go out there and buy his shoes. As a matter of fact, his shoes are far below appealing. Furthermore, this commercial is exemplary of Adidas basketball advertisements' unoriginality. It is the same concept as the Nike commercial from before (the second coming one under the "2007" link). However, it just does not appeal to me in nearly a similar fashion.

As time progresses, I hope to find more answers as to why Nike's able to capture pathos as well as why Adidas does just the opposite.


  1. whenever I think of Adidas I think of AzNs and their SupErStaRz

    even though I'm not a balla like you I love nike too! I love my nike shox and I have 2 pairs of them. They are AWESOME work out shoes :D

  2. Julian - I am so happy that you have an academic outlet for your Nike fandom. Lots of interesting questions that you posed. Just be sure you do two things: 1) Do not make this just a love letter to Nike - be sure that your paper stays well organized and focused. 2) And speaking of focused, be sure you stay focused on customer insights/experiences. It would be best to be very explicit about those concepts so that there is no concern that this is really a paper better suited for a brand management course. Let me know if you want to chat about any concerns along the way.

  3. I actually lol'ed when I read this:

    "Do not make this just a love letter to Nike"

    ...because you would SO be tempted to do that. He knows you oh so well! You'll do great though, no worries :)

    Congrats on your new shoes, Mr. McCombs. Try not to get them messed up with all those IM games coming up ;)