Drew Angerer / Staff

Scoot: Nike ad makes another political statement

July 09, 2019 - 12:50 pm

Nike's praises the US women’s national soccer team’s second consecutive World Cup victory with a new ad titled, “Never Stop Winning.” The ad is about more than just the impressive win over The Netherlands – it also seems to focus on gender discrimination in sports.

It’s obvious that Nike is selecting controversial issues to bring attention to its shoes and apparel. Sharp negative reaction followed NIKE’s recent relationship with former NFL QB Colin Kaepernick and now NIKE takes on the issue of equal pay for the US women’s soccer team.

Do the women deserve equal pay as the men? The statistics overwhelmingly support the idea that the US women’s soccer team is, literally, being robbed. During the 2014 World Cup, the USSF paid $5.375 million in bonuses to the men’s team, even though the men lost. In 2015, the women’s soccer team won the World Cup and was paid $1.725 million in bonuses. And the TV ratings for the finals between the US and The Netherlands were 20% higher than last year’s men’s World Cup finals.

In sports, men are traditionally stronger and faster than women, and that is the result of biology. In many cases, it is understandable why male athletes are paid more than female athletes, but in the case of the US women’s soccer team and the men’s soccer team – what is the continued justification for the men being at a completely different pay scale level?

The other question is: Will controversy continue to serve Nike? Nike stock and sales have not suffered significantly in the aftermath of the company’s very controversial position on Colin Kaepernick. For all those who say, “I will never buy Nike again,” there are those who will support Nike for its controversial stance.

Remember, companies that try to satisfy everyone in the marketplace often find that their image is so broad that they fail to attract a desired customer base.

Southwest Airlines was brilliantly founded on the concept of defining itself as the discount airline with quality service. Even as SWA grew, there was never the temptation to broaden the airline’s appeal. SWA continues to stand out as a premier discount airline and has not suffered the major setbacks of other airlines that tried to be everything to everybody.

It is crucial to create and maintain a company with a specific image, and that means dealing with the criticism from those who object to the company not targeting the group they most align with. In the case of Nike, the company continues to bet on the idea that their biggest potential audience is not those who complain and swear they will “never buy Nike products again.” Nike continues to market to the group that they believe will support their positions and buy their products.

We see a similar phenomenon in politics. Right now, the Democratic candidates are struggling to establish and image – an edge over the others – and the reality is that in doing so each candidate cannot please everyone. President Trump continues to focus on his core base betting on the idea that his base is big and strong enough to re-elect him to office. Watch President Trump move to a more moderate stance on some issues in an effort to broaden his appeal. But the President cannot afford to try to appeal to everyone out of fear that he would lose too much of his base.

One of the most important strategies in marketing and advertising is to “market on the narrowest possible front.” That’s what Nike Scoot: NIKE ad makes another political statementScoot: NIKE ad makes another political statementis doing and - so far – it’s working!

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