Marketing Spotlight - Nike

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  • Topic: Nike, Inc., Steve Prefontaine, Air Jordan
  • Pages : 2 (441 words )
  • Download(s) : 232
  • Published : October 1, 2009
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Nike hit the ground running in 1962. Originally known as Blue Ribbon Sports, the company focused on providing high-quality running shoes designed especially for athletes by athletes. Founder Philip Knight believed that high-tech shoes for runners could be manufactured at competitive prices if imported from abroad. The company’s commitment to designing innovative footwear for serious athletes helped it build a cult following among American consumers. By 1980, Nike had become the number-one athletic shoe company in the United States. From the start, Nike’s marketing campaigns featured winning athletes as spokespeople. The company signed on its first spokesperson, runner Steve Prefontaine, in 1973. Prefontaine’s irreverent attitude matched Nike’s spirit. Marketing campaigns featuring winning athletes made sense. Nike saw a “pyramid of influence”—it saw that product and brand choices are influenced by the prefer-ences and behavior of a small percentage of top athletes. Using professional ath-letes in its advertising campaigns was both efficient and effective for Nike. In 1985, Nike signed up then-rookie guard Michael Jordan as a spokesper-son. Jordan was still an up-and-comer, but he personified superior perfor-mance. Nike’s bet paid off: The Air Jordan line of basketball shoes flew off the shelves, with revenues of over $100 million in the first year alone. Jordan also helped build the psychological image of the Nike brand. Phil Knight said: “Sports are at the heart of American culture, so a lot of emotion already exists around it. Emotions are always hard to explain, but there’s something inspirational about watching athletes push the limits of performance. You can’t explain much in 60 seconds, but when you show Michael Jordan, you don’t have to.” In 1988, Nike aired its first ads in the “Just Do It” ad campaign. The $20 mil-lion month-long blitz—subtly encouraging Americans to participate more actively in sports—featured 12 TV spots in all. The campaign...
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