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Posts Tagged ‘Michael Jordan’

Gatorade’s “Be Like Mike” a trend setter

Posted by ZA on October 27, 2009

Gatorade started airing their “Be Like Mike” commercials in 1991.  The commercials starred global basketball icon, Michael Jordan, in a series of off-court clips with footage of his NBA games intermingled.  The catchy “Be Like Mike” provided the background theme for these spots.  Suffice to say the commercials were an instant hit and people around the world began repeating the phrase every time they hit the basketball court.  I remember a few memorable attempts of my own to “Be Like Mike” while goofing around on the basketball court.

Gatorade – “Be Like Mike” commercial

What wasn’t known at that time is the influence the “Be Like Mike” commercials by Gatorade would have on sports marketing.  How many other brands would copy the formula in successful future commercials.  The formula: catchy tune plus fast action of filmed spots and clips of game action all mixed together.  Gatorade set a standard back in 1991 that has been copied by some of the biggest name in sports since then.

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Posted in Adidas, Gatorade, Nike, Sports Brands, Sports Marketing | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Endorsement merry-go-round: Puma to Nike to Adidas

Posted by ZA on October 20, 2009

What happens when athletes switch their allegiance from one sports brand to another?  They usually pick up a bigger paycheck.  These days the goal of the big brands is to lock up their talent for the long haul.  The term “lifetime deals” have come into play with athletes like Allen Iverson (Reebok) and Tiger Woods (Nike).  Those type of deals originated with Michael Jordan who has been Nike’s shining star for a quarter of a decade.

But there are some athletes who switch brands. Here are 8 NBA stars who changed their sneaker deals:
Kobe Bryant: Adidas to Nike
Vince Carter: Puma to Nike
Baron Davis: Reebok to Li-Ning
Tim Duncan: Nike to Adidas
Kevin Garnett: Nike to And 1 to Adidas
Jason Kidd: Nike to Peak
Stephon Marbury: And 1 to Starbury
Chris Webber: Nike to Dada
Source: Complex.com

Li-Ning and Peak are both Chinese brands.  Starbury was a line of discount shoes started by Steve & Barry’s; the chain liquidated their stores in 2008 but the shoes/apparel continue to be promoted by Marbury. Dada may or may not still be in business – most of the stuff about them I could find is dated, so I can’t tell.  I guess that’s what happens when you select Chris Webber and Latrell Sprewell to endorse your product.

Posted in Adidas, Apparel & Shoes, Endorsement Deals, NBA, Nike, Sports Brands | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

“The kid from North Carolina” aka: Michael Jordan

Posted by ZA on September 9, 2009

A great article from Yahoo Sports on Nike’s decision to sign Michael Jordan.  The original deal signed back in 1984 was for $500k and a piece of the profits from Nike sales of Jordan products.  The deal eventually catapulted Nike from a top sporting goods company to a global brand.

Some more interesting tidbits from the article:
* Nike’s total revenue in 1984 (year MJ signed) was $900 million, in 2008 Nike had $18.6 billion in revenue.

* No one at Nike had ever met Michael Jordan when they agreed to sign him to an endorsement deal.

* Nike produced so much black & red apparel with Jordan that “at one point there was a run on the world’s supply of red-colored thread”.

It’s a good article by Dan Wetzel, it’s worth a read.

Posted in Apparel & Shoes, Athletes, Endorsement Deals, NBA, Nike, Sports Brands | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Who are the most popular athletes in America?

Posted by ZA on July 30, 2009

Americans love sports, so naturally we love the athletes who play the games.  But which athletes are our favorites?  Who are the top 10 most popular athletes in sports today? The Harris Poll recently released the results of their 2009 survey that asked 2,177 U.S. adults to tell who were their favorite sports stars.

America’s Favorite Male Athletes (2009):
1. Tiger Woods (Golfer)
2. Michael Jordan (Retired, NBA star)
3. LeBron James (Forward, Cleveland Cavaliers)
4. Kobe Bryant (Guard, Los Angeles Lakers)
5. Derek Jeter (Shortstop, New York Yankees)
6. Jeff Gordon (Driver, Nascar)
7. Peyton Manning (Quarterback, Indianapolis Colts)
8. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Driver, Nascar)
9. Brett Favre (Retired, NFL star)
10. Albert Pujols (Baseball player, St. Louis Cardinals)

America’s Favorite Female Athletes (2009):

1. Serena Williams (Tennis player)
2. Venus Williams (Tennis player)
3. Danica Patrick (Driver, Indy Racing)
4. Candace Parker (Forward, WNBA)
5. Mia Hamm (Soccer star)
6. Maria Sharapova (Tennis player)
7. Annika Sorenstam (Golfer)
8. Chris Everett Lloyd (Retired, Tennis star)
9. Anna Kournikova (Retired, Tennis player & model)
10. Michelle Kwan (Figure skater)

What stands out to me about the lists, particularly among the guys, is the influence that Nike has among the list.  7 of the 10 guys on the list endorse Nike, you could count Brett Favre as an 8th since he endorsed Nike brand, Starter.  The only 2 guys who do not have endorsement deals with Nike are the two Nascar drivers, who wouldn’t be a target for a shoe/apparel endorsement deal.  So you could say that Nike has a clean sweep of the eligible males.  Among female favorite athletes Nike’s percentage drops down a bit, but they still have four of the top 10 and the #1 overall.  Serena Williams, Mia Hamm, Maria Sharapova and Chris Everett Lloyd all cash endorsement checks signed by Phil Knight.

Other brands are well represented; Gatorade has deals more than half of the two lists.  That number is even greater if you factor in all of the Pepsico clients, Gatorade’s parent company, on the two lists.  Nike’s chief competitor, Adidas, also has a couple of current (Parker) or former endorsers (Kournikova) on the list.

But no brand is as well represented on the two lists as Nike.  The question it brings up is whether Nike’s marketing is helping to make these stars more popular or whether Nike has just picked the most popular athletes?  My thought is that it’s a bit of both.  Nike has always been one of the innovative marketers in sports.  They’ve revolutionized the game of sports marketing with campaigns they built around athletes, starting with Michael Jordan and continuing today through Tiger Woods.

Consider that Nike did not even make golf shoes or clubs prior to signing Tiger in 1996.  Nike’s original endorsement contract with Tiger Woods was $40 million dollars over five-years, which was then followed by a five year, $100 million dollar extension.  But their spending did not stop there, Nike has spent tens of millions more to promote their association with Tiger Woods.  And for their efforts, it’s estimated that Nike Golf pulled in $725 million in sales in 2008.  Through their endorsement deal and promotion, Nike essentially created a new billion dollar revenue stream for the company.  That type of innovative marketing will generate the cash to pay for a lot of endorsement deals.

And Nike has never been shy about spending for top talent.  They signed quasi lifetime endorsement deals with a few of the top names (Jordan, Woods & Serena Williams) to make sure they locked up their stars.  Other deals might as well be lifetime contracts because you won’t see Jeter or Sharapova pitching anyone else’s shoe brand anytime soon.  And Nike jumps at the chance whenever their has been an opportunity to add a big, new star to their roster.  Just recently they solidified long-term agreements with two members of the top 10 list above who happen to be the most popular players in the NBA; LeBron James and Kobe Bryant.

All of the athletes above are some of the biggest stars in sports; a feat they achieved because of their superior talent and lots of hard work.  But to ascend to the top of the list of America’s favorite athletes also requires a little help from sponsors.  And from their dominance on the two lists, it appears that Nike is a really good sponsor to have.

Posted in Athletes, Endorsement Deals, Gatorade, Golf, MLB, Nascar, NBA, NFL, Nike, Sports Brands, Sports Marketing | Tagged: , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Only a select few to endorse Wheaties

Posted by ZA on July 28, 2009

In the 80+ years that General Mills has marketed Wheaties there have been thousands of great athletes featured on their boxes of cereal.  Everyone from Andre Agassi to Kristi Yamaguchi have been featured on the front of the famous orange box.  Being selected to appear on the cover of a box of Wheaties is quite an accomplishment; one that only the best athletes and teams will ever experience.

But as prestigious as it is to appear on a Wheaties box, it is even more so to be named a spokesperson for the iconic brand.  Wheaties has only had 7 athletes who were selected to serve as spokesperson for their product.  They are all athletes who transcended their sport and were famous around the globe.  The seven Wheaties spokespersons are athletes who excelled both on and off the field.

Athletes who served as Spokesperson for Wheaties:
* Bob Richards (Pole Vaulter)
* Bruce Jenner (Track & Field)
* Mary Lou Retton (Gymnast)
* Walter Payton (Football player)
* Chris Evert (Tennis)
* Michael Jordan (Basketball)
* Tiger Woods (Golf)

There are not published details on how much these athletes were paid by Wheaties to endorse their product.  But the distinction of being a spokesperson for a brand so closely linked to sports greatness is surely a thrill for each of these star athletes.

Full list of athletes who have appeared on a Wheaties box.

Posted in Athletes, Endorsement Deals, Sports Brands | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »