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KNEWSNike in Danger of Losing Marketing Edge
In addition to the debate last month over a Nike ad that congratulated Tiger Woods for regaining his ranking as the worldâ€™s top golfer were the comments and opinions of the Nike brand itself.
The ad, which quoted a phrase Mr. Woods often uses in declaring, â€śWinning takes care of everything,â€ť was shredded by critics, who called the ad insensitive, implying that the negative publicity about his personal life could be erased by victory on the golf course. â€śNice message that you are sending to children,â€ť a commenter wrote on Facebook.
It was once common for consumers to express excitement about the latest marketing efforts for the athletic footwear and apparel sold by Nike. The company could easily have filled an advertising hall of fame with energetic, confident commercials that became so popular you only had to refer to them by repeating the slogans, which became known world-wide. Examples of these catchphrases are: â€śGotta be the shoes,â€ť â€śChicks dig the long ball,â€ť â€śYou donâ€™t win silver, you lose gold,â€ť and â€śThere is no finish lineâ€ť.
Recently, it seems that Nike has had a harder time standing out amid the clutter and competition, bringing out fewer ads that are widely noticeable. Experts in branding, sports marketing and advertising suggest several reasons for that.
â€śOne possible theory is that so much of Nikeâ€™s early success was driven by delivering performance to the best athletes,â€ť said Paul Swangard, Managing Director at the James H. Warsaw Sports Marketing Center at the University of Oregon.Â â€śNike hitched its wagon to that earlier and better than anyone.â€ť
An excellent example of this is the long-term, lucrative relationship between Nike and Michael Jordan, whose charming performances in several ads helped sell billions of dollars worth of sneakers and clothing, even inspiring the company to develop a sub-brand that bears his name. However, recently is seems that Nike keeps signing athletes who become better known for problems than prowess. Case in point: Tiger Woods.
Davide Grasso, Vice-President for global brand marketing at Nike, acknowledged the effects of what he called a great time of change.
â€śNike is on a journey, a long-term journey for the brand,â€ť Mr. Grasso stated. â€śAs we continue to grow in size, itâ€™s important we stay connected. If you take away the toys and the noise, itâ€™s about having a relationship.â€ť
Nike spent more than $3.2 billion to run ads in major media from 1995 through 2012, including $115.7 million last year, an increase of 20.2% from $96.3 million in 2011.
One has to wonder if the situation Nike is in can be supported with the opinion that the bigger the brand, the harder it is to stay trendy and current. After all, it is hard for a brand to be cutting edge when they have been in the market for so long.
The 2013 loyalty engagement survey conducted by Brand Keys, which specializes in brand and customer loyalty consulting, found that among athletic-shoe brands, Nike ranks second with consumers ages 45 to 65, third with consumers ages 25 to 44 and fifth with consumers ages 18 to 24.
The downward trend for the Nike brand will do one of two things: it will motivate the company to do more to stay on top of the sports industry and market in order to gain back their edge, or it will continue its course, thus deteriorating the once sports marketing giant.
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