SBD/November 29, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

LeBron James' Samsung Smartphone Endorsement At Odds With New Nike Shoe

Heat F LeBron James and the Samsung Galaxy Note II "have been seen together a lot lately on television commercials," which may have "caught the attention of the folks over at Nike," according to Allan Brettman of the Portland OREGONIAN. Nike in February "introduced basketball shoes with electronic sensors that communicate wirelessly with a smart phone." James "demonstrates the shoe's data attributes in a series of videos." But the shoes "communicate with one smart phone only: the Apple iPhone." It also "works with an Apple iPod." Nike "declined to comment about James and the Samsung phone, though one of its websites says the company will 'continue to review other platforms for possible future development.'" Univ. of Pennsylvania Baker Retailing Center Dir Barbara Kahn said that the connection between the Nike basketball shoe, James and the iPhone "may not be as clear to consumers as James and his Samsung phone." She added that companies "choosing a celebrity pitchman with no expertise with their products hope for a simple chain reaction." Kahn: "I like that person, that person likes that stuff, therefore I'll like that stuff, too" (Portland OREGONIAN, 11/29).

YOU LIKE ME, YOU REALLY LIKE ME: James has the top-selling NBA jersey, and CBS Sports Network’s Doug Gottlieb said because of that, James “must be the most-liked player in the NBA.” CBSSN’s Allie LaForce disagreed with that statement, saying buying James' No. 6 jersey is a "safe bet." LaForce: "People buy jerseys because, No. 1, they're going to look good. Number two, they're not going to have to sell their jersey in a year because this player is going to be horrible a year or two from now. It’s a safe bet.” Gottlieb: “You know why he’s the most-liked player? He’s the best and he won, and people want to be associated with a winner.” LaForce: “That doesn’t mean they like him as a person.” Gottlieb: “You don’t know these guys as a person. … People buy jerseys because the team wins and because they're the best. Period, end of story” (“Lead Off,” CBS Sports Network, 11/28).
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