Just Like Jordan – Advertising by Getting Fined

The NFL is not in a good place right now. To add to the strange lack of punishments for domestic violence cases, and the general feeling that the league is in a vulnerable place, they have a sponsorship snafu to deal with as well.

Headphone maker Bose is the official headphone sponsor of the league (yes, you can be a sponsor of headphones). In fact, just about any company can pay for play in the NFL world. Did you know Frito-Lay is the chip of the NFL? Or that NFL players are endorsed by Vicks for their cold needs? My personal favorite is the Castrol sponsorship, because when I think about the NFL, I think “Wow. Those guys must know a lot about cars.”

These sponsorships have stipulations, such as not wearing products of competitors in scenarios that might end up on television. Unfortunately, because this isn’t 1940, and everyone has a camera/camcorder in their pocket, just about any situation can end up on TV.


Image courtesy of BeatsbyDre product information page, Studio Beats

Football players such as Richard Sherman and Colin Kaepernick, two of headphone maker Beats By Dre‘s most visible promoters, have recently run afoul of the NFL’s sponsorship guidelines. Both have been televised wearing pink Beats in support of “Pinktober,” the NFL’s monthlong campaign for breast cancer charities and research.

The NFL has fined Kaepernick and Sherman $10,000 each, which, while still a substantial amount of money, isn’t that much for guys who make $19 million and $14 million per year. To me, this feels a little bit like the infamous Nike vs. the NBA case from 1985.

Nike gave Michael Jordan red and black shoes to match the Bull’s uniform. The shoes were found to violate the NBA’s dress code, so David Stern (then commissioner of the league) fined him. Again, and again, and again. Each time, Nike paid the $5,000 fine, and received publicity, favorable media coverage, and became associated both with Michael Jordan and with a bad boy, competitive attitude that culminated in record sales for the shoes when they hit retail stores. (1)

Beats by Dre has already saturated the market with high-priced, colorful, low audio quality headphones. Nike used that incident to gain their success in the world of basketball shoes. Beats has paid the fines, just as Nike did, and their athletes are continuing to wear the headphones.

Because Beats are associated with Dr. Dre, they already have a brand image, but this coverage is helping to continue the debate about the archaic rules that the NFL operates under. If players like a certain brand, don’t they have a right to use that brand’s products? As long as they aren’t coming out and openly saying “Bose sucks, we prefer Beats,” this seems like an intrusion into the rights of private citizens to do what they want.

Hopefully the NFL can figure out this issue, and get back to things that matter, like playing football, and making sure no one else is a victim of domestic violence or child abuse.



1. Trex, E. (2011, June 2). Why Michael Jordan’s Fancy New Sneakers Cost $5,000 Per Game. Retrieved October 15, 2014.

Yeezus Makes A Risky Move



For years, Kanye West has been a partner with one of the most successful shoe companies in the world: Nike. At first, in his career, he started off as only a hip-hop artists and nothing more. But more and more, he wanted to show off his passion for fashion and design. He has been partners with Nike for years, but there have been rumors for a long time that he cut ties with Nike for good. This weekend on his Yeezus Tour in New York, Kanye confirmed the controversial and shocking news that he did in fact drop a deal with Nike.

It was a very surprising announcement because he spoke strong feelings against Nike, which implies that Mr. West ended his relationship with Nike in a bad way. He even spoke against Nike CEO Mark Parker and said kept repeating that Nike would not let him be himself or express himself the way he wanted to in a creative way.

Kanye always complains and rants about things, but when he was talking about why he left Nike, he also confirmed that not only is he ditching the brand, but he signed up with Adidas, which is Nike’s main competition. In between songs, Kanye said ““The old me, without a daughter, would have taken the Nike deal because I just love Nikes so much. But the new me, with a daughter, takes the Adidas deal because I have royalties and I have to provide for my family.”

His main reason for leaving Nike is to better provide for his family and better express his freedom of creativity. I love Kanye and do think that he is a big icon for fashion worldwide, but I do think it is ridiculous that part of his decision to leave Nike was to better support his family. This is crazy to me because Forbes recently just marked Kanye as being worth $100 million dollars.

I loved all of the shoes that Kanye made with Nike called the Yeezy’s and I am worried that the shoes he makes with Adidas will be uglier in comparison to the Yeezy’s. Yet his other reason for leaving was because he did not like that Nike did not give him freedom to design. However, this makes sense because Nike is a shoe for athletes and professional fitness people, not a purely fashion shoe. I think that Nike and Kanye just had different visions for what they wanted in a shoe, so maybe switching to Adidas will be a better match. Even through countless Kanye meltdowns… I STILL LOVE KANYE.



How Nike Fuels their Advertising Campaigns

Nike, one of the leading athletic companies in the world, uses a variety of advertising campaigns to target their markets. One of which, the Nike + FuelBand campaign, is an effective and dynamic way that Nike has utilized digital advertising. Nike FuelBand is a ‘band’ or bracelet that counts your daily activities, such as calories burned, your general movement, and your daily fuel score (Nike.com). According to the Nike FuelBand Twitter, “Not only is the FuelBand a fun way to keep you active, but you can compete, collaborate, and compare your activity with each other.”

Nike kicked off this campaign through the use of the commercial Intensity #COUNTS. This ad aired on television and can also be viewed on YouTube. This ad shows how both athletes and athletic individuals can benefit from the Nike FuelBand. In the commercial, Nike utilizes storytelling. The persuasive message that everyone should purchase a Nike FuelBand is emphasized through the use of digital advertising and the incorporation of social media. 

Social media has become a powerful presence in the world of consumers. Nike targets this market by including a hashtag, #COUNTS in the advertisement. Nike also reinforces the FuelBand campaign by increasing brand exposure through Twitter, Facebook, and Vine. A specific Twitter account was created for Nike Fuel band and the hashtag #NikeFuel generates thousands of Tweets and Vine videos. This not only increases brand exposure but expands on the ‘place’ of the advertisement by reaching a broader audience. The integration of social media is a tactful idea from Nike as it is cost effective and allows the FuelBand to have increased brand presence. 

FuelBand’s digital media campaign is very integrated as it utilizes a number of platforms to advertise; furthermore, the FuelBand itself can be synced with an application available for iPads, iPhones, and iPods (Nike.com). Through this app, consumers can share their fuel scores with friends via social media websites. This gives the brand Nike further exposure and generates a source of word of mouth advertisement. This positively influences Nike’s brand identity and reinforces the positivity of the FuelBand. 

With less and less people watching Television, it is crucial for companies such as Nike to reach their audiences through a variety of platforms. In my opinion, Nike’s Intensity #COUNTS campaign is successful. This digital advertising campaign is highly effective as it uses multiple channels of communication to reinforce the FuelBand. Nike capitalizes on social media by integrating the advertisements, while also allowing FuelBand users to share their fuel scores through the exact platforms. The commercial itself evokes excitement in the audience while encouraging consumers to be motivated, be active, and purchase a FuelBand. FuelBands are for sale in local Nike stores as well as online and retail for $149 (Nike.com). 






“Intensity #COUNTS.” YouTube. Nike Basketball, n.d. Web. 3 Sept. 2013. 



 “Nike Fuel.” Life is a Sport. Make it count. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Mar. 2013


“NIKE, Inc.” NIKE, Inc.— Inspiration and Innovation for Every Athlete in the World.. 

N.p., n.d. Web. 3 Sept. 2013. <http://nike.com/fuelband>.

“Nikefuel videos from Vine – Seenive.” Vine Web Viewer – Seenive. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Sept. 2013.