Continuing with the sports theme for World IP Day, there is no doubt that when it comes to sport & retail brands, the power of sporting celebrity endorsement is enormous. Sporting brands have made great and innovative moves with this over the years, from sports stars ‘wearing/using’ the product to collaborating with sports stars and giving them design input and their own range. Although I love Under Armour’s mini movie with the legendary Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson to launch their clothing collaboration with him, in my opinion no one does celebrity endorsement like Nike.
I still remember my favourite Nike campaigns – bringing Tiger, Thierry Henri and Roger Federer together sparring as leading sports stars at the top of their respective games; Rory McIlroy (at the time the No 1 golfer in the world) narrating how his idol, Tiger Woods, inspired him to practice until he dropped to maximise his potential and then closing with the two walking down the fairway together – achieving goals and playing with your idol.
In 2019, Nike took it to the next level; they aligned themselves, not with a star but with a movement; one that promotes social conscience and awareness, gender equality. Their recent spine-tingling campaign has the incredible Serena Williams narrating highlights of where women have overcome the stereotyping of “this is a man’s sport” and achieved ground-breaking strides in achieving equal recognition in sports.
I was sitting watching a game with my family (we have an 18-year old son and a 17-year old daughter) when we first saw the ad. We often chat about the advertising in the US – often concluding that we cannot make the link between the ad and the product or service it pertains to advertise! The Nike ad closes with the incomparable Serena saying, “show them what crazy can do!”. Wow, I mean wow. We were utterly hooked and paused the game to discuss the ad – when does that happen?!
I have no doubt it has achieved what every great ad does, it brings in to the Nike family, a new demographic that feels like the company is emotionally aligned with their own values. Having teenagers who are about to take on their world, this ad totally chimed with me. I want my daughter to have all the same opportunities as my son. The emotional alignment of Nike’s brand to my values? Tick (swoosh?!). I applaud Nike, not only because I am impressed by this campaign, but that they are leveraging their most important IP asset, their brand, to connect with their customer base and raise awareness of a critical social issue. Using the power of their brand for the greater social good.
On World IP Day (April 26) I will be airing an interview I recorded recently with a sporting legend that has also used his personal brand for “good”, the engaging Nick Lowery, former Kansas City Chiefs’ kicker, don’t miss it!