Analysis of Marketing Plan of Nike and Michael Jordan

As much as Nike markets Michael Jordan, Michael Jordan markets himself and the products that he represents. Jordan is always a well-dressed, well-mannered, good natured, and respectable individual. It is a welcomed change from the tattoo covered and pierced "bad boys" that other companies have for their spokesman. All of these things draw people to Michael Jordan as a person, but his talent level is what makes Michael Jordan a worldwide icon. Michael Jordan plays at a competitive level of professional athletics that has almost never been matched in any professional sport. This talent alone sells, but when the talent is selling a product, the product is going to sell even better. The more Jordan played in front of national audience the more Nike was marketed. Jordan was a human marketing piece. He was and still is a walking, talking billboard that just happens to be a spokesman for Nike. Jordan can get as much air time and publicity as he desires just due to the sheer fact that the demand for him and his products is so great. Everyone wants to see what Jordan is wearing and doing at all times. To the target market, Jordan is everything they hope to be and by buying the product he endorses the consumer feels that they can come that much closer to their hero.

The Jordan Brand Even though Michael Jordan has retired from basketball his success continues. In 1997, Jordan announced the formation of the new signature Jordan brand. The Jordan Brand is a separate business unit from the Nike Brand; it will be able to explode product avenues that would have not necessarily have been explored under Nike's umbrella. (media/n_jocroconcept, 1-2) Unlike most companies, Jordan Brand doesn't have to worry as much about marketing strategies or who their target market will be. Jordan Brand can use secondary research from Nike and have most of their information developed for them.

The Jordan Brand not only offers the popular AIR JORDAN shoes but it also offers an apparel line and other shoes under the Jordan Brand. The area where Jordan Brand succeeds, but Nike failed was their pricing system. In terms of product, place, and promotion Nike succeeded, but in terms of price Nike was way above affordable range for most consumers. Nike's shoes for Jordan cost up to $130 per pair, but Jordan Brand offers comparable products with the JUMPMAN23 logo and Jordan name for considerably less. While this may only be a substitute for the real AIR JORDAN's, Jordan Brand makes it possible for people with lower incomes to afford to make the purchase and "get closer to their hero." (Armstrong, G7) Jordan Brand already sponsors such teams as Penn State University, Florida State University and University of North Carolina - Jordan's alma mater. Many other NBA players who grew up with Jordan as their idol have followed suit and jumped on the Nike bandwagon. Nike endorses Eddie Jones, Ray Allen, Michael Finley, Scottie Pippen and Kevin Garnett. Jordan Brand has also grown to encompass other sports and sports figures as well. It now includes Football Player Randy Moss, Golfer Tiger Woods, and Boxer Roy Jones, Jr. Every one of these athletes is a well-known and well-respected athletes and supposedly "the best at their sport" just like Jordan is. Many fans already look up to them and idolize them just like Jordan, making the marketability of each one very easy.

The Jordan Brand continues on in the Nike tradition of making shoes and apparel for the athlete and by the athlete. Not only is the quality of Jordan Brand well known but also the name by itself can be a differentiating factor when it comes time to make a purchase. Other companies do not have the name recognition and the creditability that comes with the name that the Jordan Brand possesses. When the Jordan Brand broke away from the Nike Brand it brought customer loyalty with it. All of these factors helped to ease the introduction of the Jordan Brand into the consumer market place. Jordan Brand skipped over the market penetration stage and went right to the most profitable stage; Jordan is close to its maturity. (Armstrong, 290-292) When Nike has lost a very profitable section of the apparel and shoes sales, Nike is still the top overall seller of shoes and apparel. Even when Michael Jordan decided to retire from basketball they remained true to Michael. They launched a very profitable campaign that became very popular. This "retro" collection was bringing back Jordan's past shoes. These throwbacks were very expensive, but also sold very well. Nike also began to sell some of Jordan's college gear, such as shoes, shirts and shorts. This has made University of North Carolina colors and apparel very popular as well.

Conclusion Nike's ideals and goals remain the same as those of the feisty Steve Prefontaine and Bill Bowerman. Nike CDO Phil Knight is not slowing down as he continually signs new colleges on as Nike endorsed schools, even purchasing portion of the NFL's Dallas Cowboys. Nike has reached a point where they can count on the Nike name promoting itself, and yet they continue to produce innovative ideas like the BOING! Campaign. These ideas have been productive and entertaining promotional tools. Nike continues to market itself towards people of all ages who wish to be active and still comfortable.

Jordan brand looks forward to continuing success in the future with the return of Jordan to the basketball court. With him coming back it exposes him to more people and more often. This has made more people realize the Jordan Brand. With his continued success on the court at an older age has propelled him and his name into the most marketed icon in history and has opened up other doors for athletes to do the same like Tiger Woods. These "lifelong" fans of Jordan have made them loyal to Nike and its products for life.

With Michael Jordan back in basketball and the invested interest by the media and the public this will certain help sales and keep alive the strong traditions of Nike and JORDAN BRAND apparel. With the innovative and entertaining Nike marketing staff and the basketball god that is Jordan, the shoes will sure to be flying off the shelve - like Jordan from the foul line for a successful dunk.

Bibliography Katz, Donald. "Triumph of the Swoosh." Sports Illustrated. 16 August, 1993: 53-73.

Armstrong, Gary and Kotler, Phillip. Principles of Marketing: Ninth Edition. Upper Saddle, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2000.

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