Originally posted on ARCH-USA
Kyrie Irving directs Nike Basketball’s new film, Find Your Groove. Highlighting the KYRIE 4, the spot features athletes Rob Gronkowski, Jayson Tatum and Jah Swish.
I was going to come up with something profound, but after looking through the trending topic on Twitter that “Nike came up short by not creating Christmas jerseys,” I realized people are primarily full of s–t. I would apologize for not having a better tone and failing to write like a professional here… but the same people that were killing adidas for shirseys and for boring fonts on their Christmas jerseys are the same ones saying Nike failed when Nike hasn’t delivered just one style of jersey this year, they’ve delivered AR jerseys, city jerseys, statement jerseys, not to drop down to the NCAA, they created PK80 jerseys, the NBA jerseys, “each athlete uniform represents approximately 20 recycled PET bottles”… basically Nike may have had a ripped jersey problem early in the season, but the design of the uniforms have been comparable to adidas and realistically they are doper and more earth friendly (a point that hasn’t been discussed loudly enough).
So now I will get to the point of the title. No, Nike didn’t fail Xmas day. They won the day resoundingly by benefit of the marquis matchups featuring their players. When I say Xmas Day the first name that comes to mind is either LeBron or KD. It wasn’t those two though who had a genius commercial launch during the games. Nike’s current poster child and elite athlete is the most normal looking guy on the roster… outside of Isaiah Thomas. The commercial was vintage Nike and the comedic aspects were all Kyrie.
What is most important here though is that the brand has taken to using Christmas as the launch for Kyrie the last two years and each year contributed to strong sales for the shoe keeping Kyrie’s signature in the top 10 shoes sold. While last year’s virtuoso performance with Questlove in the backdrop was perfect, this version upped the ante for sneaker releases by delivering culture, quips and branding. What’s amazing is while there were plenty of sneaker drops by brands yesterday only adidas launched a campaign as a national spot. That spot performed better than I expected it too and actually felt at home:
It can’t really be compared to the Kyrie spot as the Calling all Creators ad was delivered on December 20th and it isn’t really about basketball, it’s about team. Which is powerful in its own right, but when compared with Kyrie’s spot adidas kind of failed to set their site on a specific target. Nike did and I think ultimately that will benefit the Swoosh heading into the new year as they have countless opportunities to take advantage of their NBA relationship.
What was even more interesting is that neither Under Armour or adidas had a real focus on performance and basketball shoes yesterday. I’ve been saying that Under Armour is hurting themselves by not being engaged in consistent marketing utilizing their stars. This came home to roost as no Steph, no focus on an Under Armour Xmas shoe. The new brand Q4 had a bigger spotlight by providing Javale McGee with kicks for the day, as Under Armour simply promoted their Shoot Your Shot YouTube show online.
I get that performance footwear is down. I get that people aren’t really watching as much basketball as they did in the past. I get that casual athletic and retro dominates the market, but I also realize that trends shift and Nike is investing heavily into performance because at the end of the day everything they do is casual, but performance is an international play and with the NBA having such a strong market in China and that part of the world offering such a huge opportunity for growth the lack of focus on a specific product by every brand except Nike could mean trouble internationally.
Nike didn’t fail Xmas day… they won on the court and in the media. How do I know this? Four questions:
When I say NBA Xmas Day what NBA player do you think of first?
Who had the dopest commercial yesterday?
Who was the best adidas player on the court for the NBA Xmas games?
How many points did Steph Curry score yesterday?
Alright, those questions weren’t great, but the point is Steph didn’t play, Kristaps was in the video for adidas, but D Rose was too which captured my attention more because he didn’t play for the Cavs and that’s a story. LeBron was probably the first player you thought of, but by default Kyrie and Lebron are forever connected so Kyrie and LeBron have a form of synecdoche with the NBA and only Kyrie had a national spot. The Swoosh was everywhere on Xmas day and the other brands weren’t.