Forbes released their list of the World’s Most Valuable Brands for 2016 last month and guess who topped the list in the apparel category? You guessed it, Nike, who usurped Louis Vuitton, as the 1st non-luxury apparel brand to ever be #1 on the Forbes List. Let’s check out the hat trick Nike pulled to sit on the throne of apparel-dom.
Something that Nike has always had a knack for was spotting talent, and one thing is clear, they have an insane amount of talent under the Nike name. Their first celebrity endorsement was in 1984 when they signed with NBA “rookie”, Michael Jordan. A year later, Nike released the first sneaker from the Air Jordan line, which would become one of the most successful sneaker lines in history. Other big basketball greats Nike has endorsed are Kobe Bryant (See Mamba collection here), Kevin Durant, and LeBron James who they have a lifetime contract that is reportedly worth more than $500 million. Nike also expanded into other sports like Tennis, Golf, Baseball, and Soccer with big names such as Tiger Woods, Derek Jeter, Cristiano Ronaldo, Maria Sharapova, and Allyson Felix. Take a look at all the different celebrities endorsements Nike used in their famous “Snow Day” commercial below. Can you spot all 21 celebrity cameos?
Nike sneakers aren’t made from any rare materials, nor do they give you superhuman powers, so why does everyone want to wear them? It’s because Nike has stolen the hearts of many athletes with their genius character and ubiquitous slogan. Phil Knight bought the famous “swoosh” logo in 1972 for just $35. Although the founder wasn’t a fan of the symbol, he kept it anyway. Today, it’s one of the most easily recognized logos in the world. The “Just do it” slogan was adopted in 1989. Since then, all of Nike’s ads have clearly defined their iconic message. Nike has never been afraid to take risks with their ads. One of their more memorable and inspirational commercials draw on people engaging in their hobbies such as running, riding a bike, and playing table tennis then being challenged to compete against celebrity athletes evoking a higher sense of purpose.
Nike may have started out as a sneaker brand, but throughout the years, the company has grown to have a much larger meaning behind the name. When you buy Nike, you are buying the lifestyle. You don’t need to be an athlete to wear the brand anymore, you’re just someone who wants to excel. Nike makes that very apparent in all of their ads. In addition to buying the lifestyle, customers are also buying the name brand. Nike shoes and apparel aren’t just for performance, it’s for status. For example, the Nike Dunks have become more of a fashion statement than a Basketball sneaker, and people are wearing the Flyknits for its stylish look rather than for running. Case and point, Nike isn’t reaching out to one niche market of athletes, they are reaching out to non-athletes and sneakerheads alike.
It’s no wonder that Nike has retained the top position for the most valuable brand with their ever-evolving marketing strategy. From celebrity endorsements to powerful marketing techniques, Nike has won the hearts of many athletes and aspiring players around the world. It’s inspiring for brands alike to take a page from Nike’s book. Take a look here to see where everyone else stands on the competitive brands list for 2016.