Beloved Brands in the Market

Nike has a history of dominating the Olympics, without paying a dime to the I.O.C.

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article-0-146ECD57000005DC-749_634x354I am not the biggest fan of sponsoring the Olympics. Sponsors pay a ton of cash to IOC, to have a few signs in the stadium and for the right to pay double the value of the TV ads during the games.  Sure, you get a few good slots, but many bad slots as well. Yes, if you can get your ad near the 100m dash finals or the Basketball finals, then you might get the viewership of a Super Bowl. However, the Olympics has great viewer fatigue. We will find ourselves watching Sudan versus Malta in Fencing at some point around day 9, with our eyes in a slight fog, before we ask ourselves “What am I doing?” I have always thought,  unless you are a sponsor that is closely connected to the sporting events, is it really worth the price?

Following that logic, it should make sense for Adidas, right?  Adidas has been the long term Olympic sponsor and seems like the perfect fit. However, what Nike has been doing the past few games has been brilliant. Instead of paying the huge fees to the Olympics and the insane extra cost of TV ads, they decided to ambush the Olympics. In 2008, with the soaring heat in Beijing China, they knew that consumers would seek shelter in air-conditioned malls, where Nike dominated with massive signage and murals. Adidas was nowhere to be found. Nike also sponsored Liu Xiang, one of China’s most popular Olympic athletes. Respondents said that they wanted to buy Nike because they associated Liu’s success with the type of athletic gear he uses and they want to be like him.  Sounds like the impact of Air Jordan’s in America. The ambush was so successful that in a survey of who the main sponsor for sports equipment, 50% named Adidas and 40% named Nike. On top of that, Nike’s guerrilla warfare on the games of 2008 forces the IOC to chance the rules for Vancouver, saying that no one but Olympic sponsors could have any ads within 150 miles of Vancouver. That makes me love Nike even more, and hate the IOC even more.

This is Nike TV ad, which never mentions the Olympics, but sure walks that fine line of feeling like an Olympic sponsorship ad.

 

So fast forward to 2012 and Nike was at it again.  When the Team USA men’s basketball team is playing, Nike’s Jordan brand was live-tweeting about the game with sporadic tweets that  contain pre-planned brand content and links. Nike also released a campaign about “London”, not just about London England but all the London’s around the world. Again, this walks a fine line in giving the impression that they are an Olympic sponsor.

 

Nike also won the prize for the most memorable ad of the 2012, with an amazing piece of creative that speaks to how the average person feels about running. It featured a 12-year old from London Ohio, filmed with one shot against a voice over. And yet it is extremely creative and inspiring. This is not a super human. This is what average looks like. Here’s a kid that’s 5 foot 3, 200 pounds, trying to get in shape. Not for the games of 2024, but just to get in shape. We can all relate to this kid. None of us are going to the games, but we can each push ourselves to get a bit better and find our own greatness. This is one of my favorite ads of all time.

 

It will be interesting to see whether Nike will have success with the Rio games. While Adidas holds the main sponsor role, Nike will outfit the US Olympic team. Do you find that there is just such advertising clutter and confusion over sponsors that Nike would be granted relative sponsorship status without doing anything?  Although social media was important during 2012, it is now arguably the most crucial platform for brands to showcase their participation. This is perfect for Nike, who is one of the most Instagrammed brands in the world, with over 50 million followers on Instagram, compared to Adidas, with under 10 million. Facebook, however, appears to level out the playing field, with both brands almost on a par in terms of “Likes”. Developing creative content for social media will go a long way in appealing to the core millennial demographic and encouraging consumer engagement. The peace is on.

 

What’s your view?

 

Beloved Brands: Who are we?

At Beloved Brands, we promise that we will make your brand stronger and your brand leaders smarter. We can help you come up with your brand’s Brand Positioning, Big Idea and Brand Concept. We also can help create Brand Plans that everyone in your organization can follow and helps to focus your Marketing Execution. We provide a new way to look at Brand Management, that uses a provocative approach to align your brand to the sound fundamentals of brand management. We will make your team of Brand Leaders smarter so they can produce exceptional work that drives stronger brand results. We offer brand training on every subject in marketing, related to strategic thinking, analytics, brand planning, positioning, creative briefs, customer marketing and marketing execution.

 

Beloved Brands Training program

At Beloved Brands, we promise to make your team of BRAND LEADERS smarter, so they produce smarter work that drives stronger brand results.

  • How to think strategically: Strategic thinkers see “what if” questions before seeing solutions, mapping out a range of decision trees that intersect and connect by imagining how events will play out.
  • Write smarter Brand Plans: A good Brand Plan provides a road map for everyone in the organization to follow: sales, R&D, agencies, senior leaders, even the Brand Leader who writes the plan.
  • Create winning Brand Positioning Statements: The brand positioning statement sets up the brand’s promise to the consumer, impacting both external communication (advertising, PR or in-store) as well as internally with employees who deliver that promise.
  • Write smarter Creative Briefs: The brief helps focus the strategy so that all agencies can take key elements of the brand plan positioning to and express the brand promise through communication.
  • Be smarter at Brand Analytics: Before you dive into strategy, you have to dive into the brand’s performance metrics and look at every part of the business—category, consumers, competitors, channels and brand.
  • Get better Marketing Execution: Brand Leaders rely on agencies to execute. They need to know how to judge the work effectively to ensure they are making the best decisions on how to tell the story of the brand and express the brand’s promise.
  • How to build Media Plans: Workshop for brand leaders to help them make strategic decisions on media. We look at media as an investment, media as a strategy and the various media options—both traditional and on-line.
  • Winning the Purchase Moment: Brand Leaders need to know how to move consumers on the path to purchase, by gaining entry into their consumers mind, help them test and decide and then experience so they buy again and become a brand fan.

We will make your team of Brand Leaders smarter so they can produce exceptional work that drives stronger brand results. We offer brand training on every subject in marketing, related to strategic thinking, analytics, brand planning, positioning, creative briefs, customer marketing and marketing execution. 

To contact us, email us at graham@beloved-brands.com or call us at 416-885-3911. You can also find us on Twitter @belovedbrands. 

GR bio Jun 2016.001

Beloved Brands in the Market

The Under Armour brand is kicking butt on athlete endorsements

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Under_armour_logo.svgFull respect to the Under Armour brand, who have gone from an “under the equipment” materials business to one of the coolest sports businesses.  How did under-shirts ever become cool?

Love the entrepreneurial story: Under Armour, started by Kevin Plank in 1996, ran the first year out of his grandmother’s basement in Baltimore. Plank was a Running Back in College and got tired of his sweat soaked tee shirts. Noticing that his shorts remained dry in practice, he was inspired to make a T-shirt using moisture-wicking synthetic fabric. Like an entrepreneur, he sold the materials directly out of the trunk of his car, up and down the east coast. Hard work. Pretty soon, the best athletes gravitated to the brand and started to wear Under Armour. Everyone began noticing and the tipping point happened quickly.  The authentic sports brand was born.

Under Armour could have stayed small, but instead has jumped into the big arena going up against Nike and Adidas in the sports garment industry. Half the US share of Nike, but on the verge of over-taking Adidas for the #2 slot. And the brand is celebrating year 20.

Capturing athlete endorsements is a big bucks gamble, a bit like signing a top draft pick and hoping they can catch the ball. Look at any draft and half the first round makes it. Under Armour’s first big attempt to land a top dog was their bid for Kevin Durrant, but he ended up with Nike. But now they were in the game.

Most people start deciding what sports brand they want to get behind in High School or College, then stick with it the rest of their life. So, the 15-25 year old is the target of all your athlete endorsement. Whether by good solid scouting, a bit of luck and hard work, let’s look at the amazing roster of Under Armour.

The Under Armour Roster

So which athlete does the 15-25 year olds love? Steph Curry. Under Armour has him, signed at $4 Million a year compared to Kevin Durrant’s $30 Million per or Adidas with James Harden at $20 Million per. As reigning NBA MVP and likely headed for a second straight he is a human-highlight reel every night. His Curry One shoes are selling through the roof.

Who is the best golfer on the planet?  Jordan Speith is 22 years old and just won two majors in 2015. Plus, he’s American. While Nike has Rory McIlroy for 10 years at $25 Million, Under Armour signed Spieth to a 10 year deal that is completely incentive driven, tied to performance. They initially offered him a 25 year contract.

Who is the best football player and certainly the one generating the most press?  Cam Newton. Yes, he’s polarizing and controversial, but only if you’re over 25. He is beloved by the teens. Under Armour has him.

Screen Shot 2016-03-11 at 12.04.06 PM

 

Who is the best hockey player on the planet? Goalie Carey Price. His injury alone this year has seen the complete collapse of the Montreal Canadiens. Under Armour has him.

Who is the best baseball player?  Bryce Harper. He’s likely the Cam Newton of baseball, high on controversy but an athletic freak at the plate. Under Armour has him. Best baseball pitcher?  Clayton Kershaw with the cool locks flowing with every pitch for the Dodgers.

Add Julio Jones, Dee Gordon, Sloane Stevens and even Misty Copeland in dance.

Speaking of Misty Copeland, here’s a defining brand changing moment TV ad (nearly 10 million views):

 

No doubt Nike’s roster is impressive. But they would kill to have this roster for the next 5 years. As for Adidas, they are likely scrambling to repair their roster. And maybe trying to hire the Under Armour scouts.

So are you now seeing how an underwear company has become a very cool brand? 

 

Beloved Brands: Who are we?

At Beloved Brands, we promise that we will make your brand stronger and your brand leaders smarter.custom_business_card_pile_15837 We can help you come up with your brand’s Brand Positioning, Big Idea and Brand Concept. We also can help create Brand Plans that everyone in your organization can follow and helps to focus your Marketing Execution. We provide a new way to look at Brand Management, that uses a provocative approach to align your brand to the sound fundamentals of brand management.

We will make your team of Brand Leaders smarter so they can produce exceptional work that drives stronger brand results. We offer brand training on every subject in marketing, related to strategic thinking, analytics, brand planning, positioning, creative briefs, customer marketing and marketing execution.

To contact us, email us at graham@beloved-brands.com or call us at 416-885-3911. You can also find us on Twitter @belovedbrands.

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Beloved Brands in the Market

Five Best Sports Ads of 2012

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Given it was an Olympic year, it was a good chance for brands to leverage the games to stand out.  But my favorite ad was not about what an athlete was doing on the court but what he was going through off the court.  The injury to Derrick Rose was a dramatic turn in the sports world and the story telling that Adidas did around the injury was brilliant.

#1 Derrick Rose Adidas

This is my favorite sports-related TV ad, because of the drama that is created through the spot–whether it’s the freeze once he gets injured or the rhythm created from him working out.

 

Adidas did a great job taking the idea on-line, and turning the story of Derrick Rose’s return into a series of 3-minute videos that show the behind-the-scenes look at his return effort.  It’s supported on twitter with #thereturn where fans continue to comment as we anticipate his return shortly.

#2 Nike “Find Your Greatness” at the Olympics

Even though, they were not a sponsor of the Olympics, Nike managed to steal the spotlight and stand out with this TV ad.  While everyone else was talking about the super stars of the games, Nike reached down their roots of the average athlete.   I love the kid on the diving board at the end of the spot.

#3 P&G Moms Campaign

I thought P&G did a very nice job at the Olympics, the one sponsor that seemed to jump out.  (Nike was never a sponsor)  There were two takes that I liked, the first was “Thank You Moms” which showed everything that moms did for their athletes.   I’m sure quite a few moms were shedding a few tears over this one.

The second P&G ad spoke to the idea that “they’ll always be kids” and it showed the athletes depicted as little children.

#4 Ray Lewis Visa

Ray Lewis is one of the toughest football players, and I love how they’ve warmed him up by having the little kid ask cute questions.

#5 National Lottery in the UK

Very warm and telling spot about sending your daughter to the Olympics.  It’s a nice drama and beautifully shot TV ad.

What’s the best Sports ad you’ve seen this year?

If you are in the mood to see other great advertising, here’s a few other stories:

 

To see a training presentation on getting better Advertising: 

 

Positioning 2016.112

 

 

Beloved Brands in the Market

Nike’s “Find Your Greatness” is stealing away the Olympics again!!!

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At Beijing in 2008, Nike did such a good job that almost as many consumers felt they were the Olympic sponsor.

They flooded the malls of Beijing with Nike ads, knowing that people would be so hot, they would seek shelter in the malls. It was so successful, it forced the IOC to change the rules for Vancouver 2010 where only sponsors could do any ads within 150 miles of the host city. In London, Nike’s Jordan brand has already announced that they will be carrying live tweets of the US team’s Basketball games. (to read that article, click here: Nike to Ambush the Olympics through Twitter) But Nike’s “Reach For Greatness” campaign has the chance to steal away the games of London 2012.

For me, there are two visuals that stand out from these Olympics:

  1. The kid up on the diving tower, who stands in terror and eventually jumps
  2. The fat kid running along an empty country road at the break of dawn.

Here we are watching the Olympic games, where the greatest of the greats converge. Where Silver is referred to as the first loser. Where people who come fourth are in tears and feel the need to apologize. Where millionaires are instantly made–their sponsor has their new TV ad out within seconds of winning Gold. Visa congratulated athletes with real-time footage seconds after their victory and Corn Flakes has the Gold Medal winner already on their box. Terrific marketing, but what about the average Joe? Who is for the underdog in this world?

And yet here comes Nike, with two average people trying to reach for greatness in their own way. It’s a pleasantly surprising move coming from Nike who have a stable of the most pompous and most pampered athletes of our day. This is yet another move fron Nike, a non-sponsor, to hijack the Olympics. Since Nike has enough money to sponsor the games, I wonder if they are having more fun trying to steal them away without paying. It is fast becoming a lucrative hobby. It is amazing to see real people reaching and celebrating their own versions of greatness. These average people are far more inspirational than Tiger Woods or Lebron James.

This first Nike TV ad shows all the greatness going on around the world, creatively borrowing the word London, whether that’s in London Ohio or London Nigeria, London Field or on London Street. I love the end of the ad with the kid perched up in terror on the diving tower, afraid to jump. It’s a perfect metaphor for our own fears. And then he jumps. It’s the most basic of jumps, but the point is…he jumped. Maybe if we push ourselves, we can find our own version of greatness.

 

The next ad, features a 12-year old from London Ohio, filmed with one shot against a voice over. And yet it is extremely creative and inspiring. This is not a super human. This is what average looks like. Here’s a kid that’s 5 foot 3, 200 pounds, trying to get in shape. Not for the games of 2024, but just to get in shape. We can all relate to this kid. None of us are going to the games, but we can each push ourselves to get a bit better and find our own greatness.

 

Congrats Nike, you’ve done it again. This is the best return on no-investment I have seen.

 

If you are in the mood to see other great advertising, here’s a few other stories:

 

To see a training presentation on getting better Advertising: 

Beloved Brands: Who are we?

At Beloved Brands, we promise that we will make your brand stronger and your brand leaders smarter. We can help you come up with your brand’s Brand Positioning, Big Idea and Brand Concept. We also can help create Brand Plans that everyone in your organization can follow and helps to focus your Marketing Execution. We provide a new way to look at Brand Management, that uses a provocative approach to align your brand to the sound fundamentals of brand management. 

We will make your team of Brand Leaders smarter so they can produce exceptional work that drives stronger brand results. We offer brand training on every subject in marketing, related to strategic thinking, analytics, brand planning, positioning, creative briefs, customer marketing and marketing execution. 

To contact us, email us at graham@beloved-brands.com or call us at 416-885-3911. You can also find us on Twitter @belovedbrands

Positioning 2016.112

 

Beloved Brands in the Market

Who the Heck is P&G?

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For about 150 years, the name P&G was in the far background, nowhere to be seen. The only people who knew the name P&G were business people, new business school grads and retail buyers. Consumers never knew that a lot of the brands they loved and used every day–Tide, Crest, Pampers, Downy–all came from the same company. P&G definitely used the House of Brands to the best of their abilities. And yet, in the lasts two years, we are seeing a shift to a hybrid approach between the House of Brands and the Branded House. Both P&G and Unilever have begun ending each TV ad with a little sign off from the corporate brand name. Part of the rational for P&G is they believe that having the corporate brand name will help the weaker brands in the portfolio, giving consumers some added re-assurance that the brand comes from the same great company that makes so many of their favourites. The issue with that logic is won’t the very healthy brands be held back, having two brand names at the end of ads? It might be especially true for a brand like Gillette where it’s already very healthy and seen as its own company. If I was in charge of the Gillette brand, I might be asking “does this make sense?”

For the last few decades of the 20th century, P&G advertising was relying so heavily on the side-by-side demonstrations that all the ads started to all look the same whether it was Tide, Downy, Mr Clean or Crest. Extremely non-emotional.

I hope everyone understands that for a guy like me, who believes that creating love for your brand makes your brand more powerful and in turn more valuable that it would make sense that while I have always respected P&G, I just have never really loved or admired them. I was more of a fan of Unilever work, especially Dove’s “real beauty” campaign. Then all of a sudden, the light went on with the Pampers “Forever Young” TV ad. At first, I was stunned it was a P&G commercial. Hats off to whoever got it approved.

Then I started to notice more and more attempts by P&G to get emotional in their work. Even the emotionless brand leader Tide was trying to be emotional. Not yet fully successful, but an A for effort, on a very difficult brand to be emotional. It looks like P&G gets it and in a big way is starting to make a difference.

With the 2012 Olympic Games, I have to fully confess that the one brand that jumps out is P&G. I saw them announce to a room of Moms of the Olympic Athletes that they were sending them to the opening ceremonies and there were tears everywhere. And they have done one of the best TV ads, appropriately titled “Best Jobs” where it showcases how hard Moms work to get their athletes to the games. As P&G makes the move to a hybrid approach to a master brand, this is an amazing start. I love this ad.

And they are trying very hard to link each of their brands into the Olympics.

  • Gillette – “A Great Start Every Day” campaign featuring Swiss tennis player Roger Federer, British cyclist Sir Chris Hoy, Chinese Badminton player Lin Dan, Brazilian swimmer Felipe Franca, and American swimmer Ryan Lochte
  • Ariel & Tide – “Proud Keeper of Your Country’s Colours” campaign featuring Turkish runner Nevin Yanit and Mexican pentathlete Oscar Soto
  • Pampers – “Celebrating Babies’ Unique Spirit of Play” campaign featuring U.S. beach volleyball player Kerri Walsh Jennings and British marathoner Paula Radcliffe
  • Pantene – “Keep Shining” campaign featuring Argentine tennis player Gisela Dulko, Mexican diver Paola Espinosa, and American swimmer Natalie Coughlin
  • Head & Shoulders – “Wash in Confidence” featuring American swimmer Michael Phelps and French handball player Nikola Karabatic

Way to go P&G, whoever the heck P&G is.

About Graham Robertson: I’m a marketer at heart, who loves everything about brands. I love great TV ads, I love going into grocery stores on holidays and I love seeing marketers do things I wish I came up with. I’m always eager to talk with marketers about what they want to do. I have walked a mile in your shoes. My background includes CPG marketing at companies such as Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer Consumer, General Mills and Coke. I’m now a marketing consultant helping brands find their love and find growth for their brands. I do executive training and coaching of executives and brand managers, helping on strategy, brand planning, advertising and profitability. I’m the President of Beloved Brands Inc. and can help you find the love for your brand. To read more about Beloved Brands Inc, visit https://beloved-brands.com/inc/