A Look at Sports Apparel Marketing

June 7, 2013
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Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour are three prominent and successful sports apparel companies. They make the uniforms for the NFL, the NBA, and numerous collegiate teams. Like any other successful company, they count on marketing to become successful. In sports apparel marketing, there are three marketing tactics that have proven to be successful, and three reasons why these marketing tactics result in success.

The first marketing tactic is an endorsement. An endorsement is when a famous person is used to sell a product. In the case of sports apparel, the famous people are athletes. Nike, Adidas and Under Armour all have a long list of athletes they use to sell their products. Nike’s endorsements include Tiger Woods and LeBron James, while Adidas has endorsements like Lionel Messi and David Beckham, and Under Armour uses Michael Phelps and Cam Newton to sell their products.

The second marketing tactic is motivational messages. A motivational message often depicts an athlete facing and overcoming his or her obstacles. While overcoming whatever obstacles there may be, this athlete is shown wearing clothes featuring the logo of whatever company made the commercial. For example, if Nike makes a commercial about a young basketball player overcoming his obstacles, he will be wearing Nike shoes for the duration of the commercial.

The third marketing tactic is using pop culture. These commercials combine sports and various elements of pop culture, like movies, TV shows and music. These commercials feature two or more popular forms of entertainment to create a commercial that interests a large group of people.

One reason why these tactics are successful is that they appeal to their audience, those who play and watch sports. Because the audience for sports apparel marketing is very easy to understand and target, the commercials can be tailored specifically for them. For example, motivational messages are shown during NFL games to motivate young athletes to be like the players they see on TV. This also leads to something called ambush marketing, which is taking advantage of timeliness for commercials. For example, when the World Cup was taking place, Nike ran World Cup themed commercials.

Another reason why these tactics are successful is that they make the commercials memorable because of the famous people that appear in them. If someone is watching football, and sees their favorite player in a commercial for Nike, they’ll remember that commercial because they saw their favorite player. The idea is for people to associate their favorite player with Nike, and buy Nike products because their favorite player wears Nike shoes.

The final reason why these tactics are successful is simply because they are humorous. The same principle applies to humor as it does to seeing famous people. If someone sees a funny commercial for Nike, they’ll remember that commercial. The goal of a funny commercial is to make people associate Nike with that commercial, and be more inclined to purchase Nike products because they like their commercials.

Below I have links for three commercials, each one showing a different example of a marketing tactic.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MT50eLLxPco (Pop Culture)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_hEzW1WRFTg (Motivation)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45mMioJ5szc (Endorsement)

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