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SBD/5/Sponsorships Advertising Marketing
NIKE THINKS IT CAN, IT THINKS IT CAN, IT THINKS IT CAN...
Published January 5, 1998
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).