Ambush Marketing…Nike Style

Today, officially, and dare I say, thankfully, we say good-bye to the London 2012 Games, though not without a shout out to team USA’s men’s gold medal winning bball team.  (Hey, Melo, any chance you can bring some of that juice home to NYC?)

Companies pay huge sums to be Olympic sponsors, and, theoretically at least,  for good reason – for two weeks every two years the entire planet is focused on something positive.  Not many marketing opportunities can give you that kind of stage.  One of the London Games’ official sponsors, for example, was adidas.  By some estimates, adidas paid, based on today’s exchange rate, about $160 million over the last four years for exclusive marketing rights in the UK only, which included the cost of the sponsorship, the ad campaigns and outfitting the athletes.  The New York Times reports that the sponsorship piece alone cost (again, based on today’s exchange rate) about $60 million.  To quote Macaulay Culkin from one of my top 10 Will & Grace episodes, “That’s a lotta chedda, yo!”

Then there’s Nike.  They ran a wonderful, engaging TV ad called “Find Your Greatness – Jogger” that is not only a viral sensation, but has really captured peoples’ imaginations (you can watch it here).  Then they stuck it to adidas in their own backyard with this print ad featuring the great British women’s marathoner and current world champion Paula Radcliffe.  Then this morning during the men’s bball finals, they ran a “Game On” spot that was as kick-ass and adrenaline-fueled as “Find Your Greatness” was endearing (you can see it here).  Cost of the sponsorship?  Zero.  They paid for media buys and production costs, but they paid no sponsorship fee because they weren’t a sponsor.  Net result?  Ad Age reported that of 1,034 US consumers surveyed, 37% identified Nike as an Olympic sponsor.

Call it chutzpah (look it up), call it good ol’ American ingenuity.  But THAT is how it’s done.


Those who can – do. Those who can’t – are jealous.

(With a nod and an apology to H.L. Mencken.)

I, like many people I know (none of them journalists), *love* HBO’s The Newsroom.  It seems many people I don’t know like the show as well, judging by the growth in viewership since its debut and the show’s pick up for a second season.  According to HBO’s parent company, Time Warner, the show averages 7 million viewers per episode as compared to its bona fide hit Game of Thrones, which averaged 11 million.  Yeah, that’s a real big difference…(not).

So now one Mr. Tim Goodman, TV critic extraordinaire for The Hollywood Reporter, has decided to offer advice on how Aaron Sorkin – the show’s highly respected creator and winner of Oscars and Emmys for work that includes A Few Good Men, The American President, The West Wing, Sports Night, The Social Network and Moneyball – should deal with ten difficult questions he may be subjected to by the nation’s TV critics today as part of the Television Critics Association summer press tour.  Not a big surprise that the critics don’t like this show – they all work for news organizations of a sort, and while The Newsroom may represent some utopian idea of how a news operation should work, it still makes them all look bad.

Here are Mr. Goodman’s sage words for Mr. Sorkin.  My advice to Mr. Goodman is to get a real job that doesn’t involve pissing on the undeniable talent of others for the hell of it.