Advalue:NIKE Football campaigns

INDUSTRY Viewpoint; Sara Louise Borland, Marketing manager, LA Gear

Football is at the forefront of everyone’s mind, especially here in Newcastle. It’s difficult not to be drawn towards the precipice as the competition in the Premier League reaches its peak. It is World Cup fever revisited, when football opened itself up to a whole new audience and with Euro 96 around the corner, the ball is gaining momentum as it rolls.

I would not have classed myself as a football supporter, but suddenly I find I am eager to be armed with the latest score and up-to-date information on the league tables: it’s a must to hold your own in conversation.

Football seems to be carving a wider market for itself, spanning all ages and genders. It suddenly seems “de rigueur” to be associated in some way with this once male domain. If the latest TV girlies are not being snapped alongside a footballer, they are queuing for an invitation to appear on Fantasy Football League to increase their standing in the credibility stakes.

Nike’s entrance into this market could not have been better timed. As a brand, Nike is going from strength to strength and has apparently recognised the size of the animal football is becoming – and wants its pound of flesh. Nike’s tactics, specifically applied to its advertising, are subliminal yet powerful; football is a passionate sport and Nike’s creatives promote the beauty of the game.

They have tackled controversial and moral issues and come out on top.

Like LA Gear, Nike’s heritage is firmly established in the States. However, Nike has chosen to distance itself a little from that imagery in search of a wider market in the UK – that is the football fan. Obviously this strategy has had a far greater reach, with a powerful knock-on effect in the sales of shoes to the more fashion-oriented wearer.

At LA Gear, we pride ourselves in promoting our US, West Coast heritage and that wacky LA lifestyle with a leading-edge, fashion-oriented product.

Finally, I must mention Mr Eric Cantona. After all the controversy, many a sponsor would have recoiled in fear at his knock on the door. Not Nike. Its creative ability to tackle a potentially disastrous situation and turn it around into a positive one catapulted its campaign to cult status. And I’m sure Mr Cantona will be thanking his lucky stars that his sponsor was ingenious enough to transform his image of football’s bad boy to that of superstar.

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