Nike Basketball and Jordan have always made the best commercials. The brands have managed to become synonymous with cool. Many of the ads reflect wider black culture: film, comedy & music. The above example features music from the Wu-Tang clan, Anime style animation along side live footage of Lebron James doing what he does best. Nike's consistent ability to produce innovative, fresh content for commercials is probably what has helped to keep them number one on many people's list of favorite sports brands. It's no secret that Nike spend a large portion of their annual budget on advertising & PR to ensure the brand retains it's street cred & gargantuan status.
Throughout my entire life I have found that Nike & Jordan advertising campaigns have been the ones I have like the most, they spoke to me far more than any other brands. Some Nike adverts resonate with me as much as my favorite films & songs (many Nike B-Ball & Jordan ads were directed by Spike Lee). The Nike Basketball & Jordan brands have managed to capture in their campaigns what it is about Basketball & the culture that surrounds it, that makes it exciting, addictive, life-consuming etc...
The ads work. It's clear they were made with an emphasis on creativity and innovation, the ads are designed to tap into aspirations of inner city youth who play ball & listen to hip-hop and are into the culture that surrounds the game: sneakers, music, clothes & the lifestyle & those who aspired to it. I bought the shoes.
It's weird to think about the way a sneaker brand has impacted your life. But Nike & Jordan shoes have not been just influential in my life, they have had a huge impact on Hip-Hop & popular culture. Basketball shoes such as The Air Force One & the entire Jordan series have become symbols of Hip Hop culture, fresh AF1's being an emblem of status.
Jordan, is not only one of the best Basketball players of all time, he was also the first to have his own shoe that became a distinct brand in itself generating millions. Jordan's status as best in the world helped make the brand seem like the best in the world, a formula Nike have continued to follow with Lebron James & Kobe Bryant. Being the best in the world and having the most popular shoe/clothing brand was very inspiring to me as a youth.
Everyone knows clothes & footwear are an important part of Hip-Hop & sports culture and the two are both closely interlinked. Hip-Hop music has undoubtedly had a large impact on the way athletes dress, as sportswear has always played a large part in Hip-Hop. Many rappers have their own clothing lines. Jay-z & 50 Cent both have their own shoes, a bit like Jordan.
Basketball isn't really as popular in the UK as it is in the U.S and mainland Europe, I'm not really sure why, but a well considered UK Nike Basketball campaign could do wonders to invigorate the sport. An entire generation of kids who listen to hip-hop & wear Nike basketball shoes, who may not even play the game would immediately recognize and understand the imagery of Basketball having being exposed to the game through other media: TV, music, fashion, movies etc...
Basketball events & coverage are few & far between in the UK, TV shows are on late at night and games hardly get a mention in the national press. Information & games are to be found online at places such as www.hoopsfix.com. Although Nike does have a presence at events such as Midnight Madness and at the store Nike Town, that's about it.
A documentary that aims to encourage people to back Team Great Britian, 'Back British Basketball' was released online prior to Team GB's Olympic qualifiers earlier this year. Despite England winning all four qualifying matches, Basketball in England remains an untapped market, largely ignored by the media. Team GB matches are not broadcast on TV, such coverage pales in comparison to Nike's sponsorship & promotion of the US team.