Every box of Nike shoes states, “engineered and built to the exact specifications for championship athletes around the world.” Nike has become the measuring stick in the world of merchandising and endorsing. Top athletes around the world are often seen with a famous Nike swoosh on their shoes. It is not uncommon to see some form of Nike product everywhere you look. Nike “head honcho” Phil Knight wants to keep it that way, too.
In the spring of 1972, Phil Knight, a graduate of the University of Oregon, introduced the city of Beaverton, Oregon to the world of Nike. Phil decided that by selling shoes out of the trunk of his own car he would impact the world forever. Phil was right. First year sales for Phil Knight equaled $8,000. This meant that Phil made a $250 profit. Phil was a little down on his luck, so he decided to seek the expert advice of his head track coach in college. Bill Bowerman came up with an idea that forever changed the world of Nike. Bill Bowerman decided to put some rubber compound in a waffle maker and take the result of that experiment and glue them to the bottom of a shoe. Bill gave the shoes to a couple of his long distance runners to see what they thought. Results came back positive. Good traction mixed with extra cushioning proved to be a winning result (History).
Now if only the public could hear about the startling development. Who better to promote the Nike waffle trainer than tennis “bad boy” John McEnroe. The king of controversy himself was there to aid Phil Knight in his time of need. Phil Knight used a method of advertising that was unheard of. Controversy sold and there was no doubt about it. Nike figured that by people viewing the outrageous gestures made by John McEnroe they would soon catch onto what he was wearing, this included his shoes. Nike waffle trainers were flying off shelves and Phil Knight had hit a jackpot (History).
In 1984, Phil Knight had his hands full once again. Knight decided that by sponsoring a basketball player it would boost his sales of Nike even more, especially if the players were controversial. Knight had to decide between NBA stars such as Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. Both decided that Nike was not for them and picked the Converse shoe instead. Phil Knight decided that a scrappy ball player fresh out of North Carolina named Michael Jordan...
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... Nike’s newest lines of shoes, the Nike Shox. The “Boing” campaign has swept this nation of its feet in 2001. The shoe consists of spring representing units in the heel of every shoe. It is unique in its own way and basketball players around the world have adapted to the feel of it and love it.
With Nike well on its way to becoming the leading sports shoe industry for years to come, it is obvious that Phil Knight will never stop creating a controversy around his campaign ads. Look for Nike to be the only shoe company around in a hundred years because of the simple fact that as long as the world of sports never dies neither will Nike. Promoting and encouraging athletes has become a trademark for Nike. Nike sees greatness in sports as a way to not only make itself that much richer, but also assist a great athlete to become that much greater.
Nike, Inc. “Michael Jordan,” January 2001. May 2, 2001. http://www.jumpman23.com
Nike, Inc. “Player Profiles,” May 2001. May 2, 2001. http://www.nikebasketball.com
Nike, Inc. “Jordan retires,” June 1999. May 2, 2001. http://www.nikebiz.com
Nike, Inc. “History,” November 2000. May 9, 2001. http://www.nike.com
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