Mail    Print   Share Share

Behind the Swoosh: The Making of Nike's Greatest Commercials

From Michael Jordan to Tiger Woods, we highlight six of Nike's most memorable TV ad campaigns

- January 25, 2010
What would the Super Bowl -- let alone sports marketing in general -- be like without the contributions from Nike? For the last 20+ years, the brand has set then shattered the template for commercial creation, in turn building an empire and influencing competitors and advertisers alike. Of course, half of the credit can be given to Dan Wieden and David Kennedy, who actually built their eponymous, Portland, Ore.-based agency at the suggestion of Nike chief Phil Knight in 1982 and eventually built it into a global network of their own.

The brand and agency fittingly grew together in the '80s, but it took a certain basketball player sporting the #23 for Nike to truly explode. Arguably no single athlete proved more marketable during the '80s and '90s than Michael Jordan, who donned his first pair of Nike Air Jordans in 1984 and has since become a logo and brand himself. Magical playing skills aside, Jordan's commercials broadened Nike's reach and paved the way for the brand to lure several high-profile athletes in the ensuing years in every sport from basketball and football to tennis and golf.

"Nike has been one of those brands that worked out that it's better to influence culture than simply reflect it," says Gareth Kay, director of digital strategy at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, the agency of record for the NBA. "And that has huge impact on what you think about trying to create. More than any other brand they have shown the way forward time and time again." Here, we chronicle just a few of those iconic TV ads featuring the Swoosh. ...

AvantGuild Sign Up Now!Sign Up Now!

The How to Pitch series is worth its weight in gold. In just the first month I'd already benefited enough to consider the cost of joining well worth it. -- Gaen Murphree
AvantGuild benefits give you access to:
  • Premium content, including our How to Pitch Guides, an indispensable tool for freelance writers. view sample >
  • Savings of up to $35 per class on courses and seminars.
  • Insurance discounts for freelancers and small businesses, including medical, dental, auto and home.
  • Lots of other professional discounts, including ZipCar (a $50 value) and your choice of magazine subscriptions (a $10 value).

... and much more! View all benefits or Sign up now!

Already an AvantGuild member?

Log in here to view the full page.

remember me
forgot your password?