Tag Archives: Olympics

Protecting the end-to-end experience

23 Jul

An interesting image broke a few weeks ago of the US mens Olympic Basketball team in their new Nike designed uniforms. The offending piece centered around mens coach Mike Krzyzewski covering Dwight Howards adidas sponsored footwear – blocking the 3 stripes from display. Further controversy surrounded the image was directed at Howard, who while holding the ball blocked the Nike swoosh with his dangling arm.

Nike have invested hundreds of millions of dollars on sponsoring the US team and it’s in their best interests to protect where possible the whole experience from head to toe. In team sports it should be expected that individual stars have their own deals that can often compromise the exclusivity and impact the teams endorser stands to gain.

Take for example Ronaldinho (Brazilian sccer star), at Barcelona he was head to toe a Nike guy, they used him in almost every campaign piece – such is his iconic status and reach. This week Ronaldinho signed for AC Milan, an adidas endorsed team. Adidas immediately announced that they had pre orders of 11,000 Ronaldinho shirts within 2 hours of his shirt number announcement. Nike, like most sports brands, would rather a situation exist where an authentic end-to-end Nike branded experience can be communicated to its audience. Until last week that was exactly what happened whenever he stepped out for FC Barcelona. In contrast Ronaldinho now dones the 3 stripes, with limited visibility given to his Nike sponsored boots.

Past rumors within sport marketing circles tell stories of certain brands paying big money to keep their major stars contracted to teams that have endorsement deals with their brand. The ability to control the whole experience is a scenario any sports manufacturer would want, as the ultimate platform to showcase their brand.

I predict the ability to control this seamless experience to become even more of a prevailing trend in the years to come.

check out full US basketball piece here:




Beijing 2008 Brand Post

6 Jun

While I was away my friend at Truebranding Melissa posted an article on Brand Channel regarding the Olympic brand and China. A very well wrote and thought through piece.

Also a few interesting quotes from someone well known to this site.



We’ve got more Sports than you…

9 Apr

Nike announced yesterday that they are making products for all of the sports that will appear at this years Beijing Olympics.

This is a massive thing for the industry. Traditionally only adidas got close – they recently proclaimed on an ad in London (The Evening Standard) that they would make specialist products for 25 of the 26 sports in London 2012.

Nike is now challenging the established. Adidas have always had a close relationship with the IOC and made sports products in sectors that where not as lucrative as others. Nike are pushing boundaries, the BMX collections (first year as an Olympic event) is a great example. Very similar to what they did in Skateboarding, where they gained authenticity by signing up the icons of the sports, then working closely with the guys who wore the gear and designing with the end-user as the central thought.

Nike are not an official partner of the IOC but the lines are increasingly blurring.


Pouring water on the rings

9 Apr

As the Olympic torch continues its journey around the world on route to the Beijing Olympic stadium, the level of public disapproval to China and its policies shows no signs of abating. The Olympic flame with its supposed symbol of peace and hope are being met with protestors everywhere who are angry about Chinas role in Sudan and their reckless policy in Tibet.

Not only is it damaging the Beijing games but it is also damaging the Olympic brand.

The Chinese games are a bold move by the IOC to bring the rings to all corners of the world. Slowly that ideology is being eroded by what is uniting pressure from public opinion.

The torch relay is meant to signify the purity of the games, coming from its ancient home in Olympia, Greece to its final resting point high above the Olympic stadium. The fact it passes through so many territories on route acts as a testimony to mankind that we are better off acting together and living in peace, with respect for one another. The current perception of China goes against these ideals and puts at its very heart the belief people can put behind the principles of Olympism and the games.

Only time will tell how China can turn this around.

Double Take

8 Apr

A colleague was just outside of Beijing and took this snap for me. Li Ning have been around since 1989 and were started by the legendary Chinese athlete of the same name (4 gold medals in LA84 games)

It feels like it is derived half from Nike and half from adidas. Check out the tagline ‘Anything is Possible’, with the store environment being very much out of Nikes locker. Essentially the product has up until this point imitated what the western brands do, their innovation centers are in the US and designers end up being poached from the big brands.

My question here is what should the focus of the brand be going forward as they continue to grow in China (projected 4,000 stores by 2010) ? Do they try and imitate western brands as that is what Chinese consumers have aspired to for so long, or do they really put a stake in the ground and say we are proud of our Chinese roots – we are a Chinese brand that is led by Chinese principles and culture.

When Western consumers started desiring flat clean lined sneakers a few years back, they turned to sports like Taekwondo and Asics who had been making these for the eastern market for many years.

It would be very refreshing to see Li Ning use Chinese design and thinking for the brand, becoming one of the first brands that the Chinese can be really truly proud of and the first that Western consumers start to desire.