Integrated Marketing Communication
Nike and Liu Xiang:
Crisis Management in Celebrity Endorsement
* World’s leading supplier of athletic gear
* A major sponsor of various global sports events and high-profile athletes and athletic teams * Entered into China in 1980
* Considered to be the ‘coolest’ brand in China- success due to clever marketing Liu Xiang
* One of Nike’s most important brand ambassadors in China * First endorsement signed in 2002- he won his first World Championship * New television commercial (TVC) launched in 2004- he won a gold medal at Athens Olympics- “Stereotypes are meant to be broken” What went wrong in this arrangement?
* Nike spent heavily on high-profile advertising campaigns centred on Beijing Olympics themes * It also invested a lot of money to design new sportswear and footwear for Liu and other athletes specifically for the Beijing Olympics * Liu was considered to be more valuable than Yao Ming (Chinese Basketball Team) as he was believed to have a higher chance of defending his title from Athens Olympics- so more money was spent on him * A couple of days before the event, Liu quit the race due to an Achilles injury after a false start by another athlete * This was believed to be a big blow to Nike as Liu was the cornerstone for their program What was the reaction to this?
* Mixed emotions spread throughout China. Some of them were sympathetic while others were angry as the news that Liu was injured was kept in the dark till the last moment. * Online posts on a major Chinese portal even criticized Nike by saying that Nike forced Liu not to participate, as the odds in favour of Liu winning the race was unfavourable. * Liu made a public apology and expressed his interest in the sport. His desire for victory is still burning in him and he will soon return back to the sport. What did Nike do?
* The day after...
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