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Nike's New Ad Strategy


By Rick Horrow and Karla Swatek

October 26, 2012

Remember the once pristine public images of Tiger Woods and Lance Armstrong? If they can get caught up in scandals so egregious they get knocked off the sports sponsorship Mt. Rushmore, no athlete truly is a safe endorser. For this reason, and because athletes don’t help sell products the way that they used to, Nike’s new advertising campaigns are moving away from celebrity and to average Joe.

The shift to using non-celebrities sometimes is made out of necessity, such as during the Olympics when Nike wasn’t an official sponsor. Unable to feature Olympians during an IOC-imposed marketing blackout, the company’s “Find Your Greatness” campaign showcasing “everyday” athletes.

From Dos Equis’ “Most Interesting Man in the World” to the Geico Caveman, companies with large marketing budgets don’t always rely on celebrities in ads. For Nike, following the downfall of two of its most prominent endorsers, creative campaigns featuring the “athlete next door” are a safer allocation of ad dollars when it comes to driving sales.




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Rick Horrow, America’s leading expert in sport business, and coauthor Karla Swatek give fans an inside look at the multibillion-dollar world of professional sport.
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Rick Horrow, America’s leading expert in sport business, and coauthor Karla Swatek give fans an inside look at the multibillion-dollar world of professional sport.
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