SBD/5/Sponsorships Advertising Marketing


          On January 1, Nike debuted its new ad campaign, "I
     Can," created by Wieden & Kennedy.  Nike VP/USA Marketing
     Bob Wood, on "I Can": "At a time when cynicism in sports is
     at an all-time high, 'I Can' is an effort to return to a
     focus on the positive.  It reflects the deep emotional
     connection that people have with sports" (Nike).  AD AGE's
     Jeff Jensen reports that W&K currently is at work on a
     different "I Can" execution, "featuring high-profile Nike
     endorsers talking about what sports mean to them."  Goodby,
     Silverstein & Partners will also "contribute creative work"
     on the new slogan, but Jensen adds Nike "didn't indicate
     when Goodby's first 'I Can' work will break" (AD AGE, 1/4).
          TAKING THE EDGE OFF? In Portland, Jeff Manning called
     the new campaign "an enormous gamble" since Nike advertising
     "is consistently ranked among the most effective and popular
     in the country."  Manning added that with the new spots,
     Nike "is in the odd position of attempting to focus
     attention away from many of the problems in sports that the
     shoe companies are seen as having helped create," and that
     Nike hopes its new campaign "will remind consumers of all
     that is good about sports" (OREGONIAN, 12/30).  On CNN's
     "Moneyline," Jan Hopkins said, "Nike says the message aims
     to play down the growing view that athletes are spoiled, an
     image that Nike helped create by lavishing multimillion
     dollar shoe contracts on pro athletes" (CNN, 12/30).  In
     N.Y., Richard Wilner wrote that while "'Just Do It' will go
     down in ad history as one of the all-time greats, experts
     say it was time to hang it up."  Wall Street analysts also
     "applauded the move."  Avrett, Free & Ginsberg Chair Frank
     Ginsberg said Nike "needed something less aggressive." 
     Black & Co.'s Jennifer Black Groves said the new TV spots
     "will strive to forge a new closeness between the company,
     athletes and wannabe athletes" (N.Y. POST, 12/31).  The AP's
     Bob Baum wrote the new slogan "is partly an attempt to
     offset a rather glum year for Nike" (AP, 12/31).  Nike USA
     Marketing Ad Dir Chris Zimmerman: "Obviously, the market has
     slowed.  That's a time when we look to advertising to play a
     bigger role in driving sales" (N.Y. TIMES, 12/31). 
          END OF AN ERA: In Chicago, Jim Kirk wrote that after
     nine years of using "Just Do It," a phrase "that has become
     a part of American popular culture," Nike changed "one of
     the most enduring -- and at one time most successful --
     marketing slogans of the decade" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 12/31). 
     "Just Do It" will not "completely disappear" and "will
     continue" as Nike's theme overseas (N.Y. TIMES, 12/31).  

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