Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Michael Jorden

Michael Jordan
Case Study
Kelly McKenna
Comm 473


Michael Jordan is more than just an amazing basketball player, he has branded himself into one of the most recognizable people in the world.
Michael through the quality of the product (being himself) he has become and huge marketing success. In order to see how this was possible we need to start at the very beginning of Michael’s road to success.


Michael Jordan was actually cut from his high school basketball team as a sophomore. Instead of giving up after failing to make the team, Jordan used it as fuel himself, practicing hour after hour on the court. "Whenever I was working out and got tired and figured I ought to stop, I'd close my eyes and see that list in the locker room without my name on it," Jordan said, "and that usually got me going again." He eventually made the team and led it to the state championship.

Jordan went on to play for the University of North Carolina where he was named College Player of the Year in 1983 and 1984. Ultimately Jordan was chosen as the third overall pick in the NBA draft after his junior year and started his career with the Chicago Bulls.

The year before Michael arrived in the Chicago Bulls number 23 uniform, attendance at games in Chicago averaged 6,365 fans a game. However, after Jordan signed on despite their poor record, attendance nearly doubled. In years following Chicago stadium would be full almost every night as people all over the country gathered to witness a piece of sports history in the making.

Michael became a superstar winning countless awards and recognition such as 5 Most Valuable Player awards, 6 NBA finals NBA MVP awards, 14 NBA All Star appearances, holds NBA record for highest career regular season scoring average, ten scoring titles, 3 steals titles, and Jordan also played on two Olympic Gold Medal winning teams.
The list is endless and ultimately catapulted him into a world of fame through his talent on the court.

Everyone could recognize Michael Jordan. He became a household name. Not only did he become a household name through his talent on the court, but off the court through endorsements Michael Jordan began to build one of the most recognizable brands of our time, Michael Jordan himself.
Michael has built an empire where he is the ruler. “No sport is too obscure to have its legions of coaches, fans, opponents, writers and publicists ready to crown a king. In sports, there's only one king: Michael Jordan,” according to a New York Times article by Caitlin Lovinger.
Michael Jordan is a quality product that never let us down. Jordan has put himself on the highest pedestal. Any company that he decides to back instantly gains credibility by association with Michael Jordan the brand.

"If you set out to create the perfect sports pitchman, you couldn't come up with anything better than Michael Jordan," said Bob Williams, president of Burns Sports, a sports marketing firm,” The Michael Jordan brand remains extremely viable," he said.


Be Like Mike…Drink Gatorade
Gatorade came out with an ad campaign in 1991 “Be Like Mike…drink Gatorade”. Like Mike become the theme. If you want to be Like Mike, where his shoe line, or his cologne, even his underwear! Eat the food he eats, drink the drink he drinks, opportunities were endless. Marketers and PR people ran with this idea. Through Michael’s worldwide acclaim and credibility many products signed on with him to endorse their products. Before he knew it Michael Jordan was

Is it the shoes?
Introduced in 1985 was Michael Jordan’s shoe line Air Jordans. Prior to this launch Nike had no recognition in the basketball world. They were characterized by running shoes marketed to a largely white target audience. The launch of this brand sparked an athletic shoe phenomenon. Before the Jordan release players generally wore plain white sneakers. However the bold black and red design shocked the sneaker world. The NBA has banned the shoes originally but Jordan wore them anyway receiving fines totaling up to $5000 per game. Along with Michael Jordan’s image as a quality brand and they are seen as such.
In the film “Like Mike” the main character finds magical sneakers that allow him to play “Like Mike”

“It’s all good until I get my first scuff…”
Don’t Step on My J’s music video. Air Jordan’s have become a staple in the hip-hop community. Anybody who is anybody has the most exclusive sneakers. Air Jordan’s took the sneaker world to another level as a trend and a fashion statement. They are a premium, high quality, high priced product that are featured in this music video and are talked about in numerous hip-hop/rap songs.

Space Jam
"C'mon, Michael, it's game time. Get your Hanes on, lace up your Nikes, grab your Wheaties and your Gatorade, and we'll pick up a Big Macon the way to the Ball Park", Stan Mike’s sidekick in the film poking fun at Michael’s endorsements. Product placements were also placed throughout the film always keeping brand building in mind.

1996 Michael Jordan starred in this family friendly film alongside Bugs Bunny. The film grossed $230 million dollars and was highly successful.

Marketing campaigns continue with Michael Jordan long after his retirement as a one of the best (if not the best) athlete of our time.
''We are looking at marketing more Michael the person,'' according to Larry Miller President for Nike’s Jordan Division, ''Things like hard work and dedication, excellence and being prepared. It's not focusing on whether he can score 40 points, it's the characteristics that made Michael able to score 40 points.''
This is important because Michael Jordan isn’t just recognized by basketball followers or even just athletes, he is one of the most recognizable people of our time overall. “Even people who don't know basketball know Michael Jordan. He has the kind of star power that projects beyond the court, beyond sport, even beyond the border,” said by CBS’s Richard Schlesinger. This in my opinion is why he has been such a successful brand.
Marketers feel that the baby boomers are the demographic that most identifies with the Jordan and that might create opportunities down the road for endorsements in insurance and financial services to pitch to the loyal Jordan consumers.
Michael Jordan has completely transformed sports marketing and the role of celebrity endorsers. Forbes has estimated his annual endorsement income at $45 million which was the highest of any pro athlete.
Jordan has multiyear deals from Nike, General Mills, Quaker Oats Co.'s Gatorade, Rayovac Corp. and Hanes to name a few. This allows him to remain one of the leaders for years to come.
Analysts estimated his endorsements generate $500 million in sales for the companies he represents. (Wayne Friedman Advertising Age 1999 article)

Air Jordans by Nike
A division of NIKE, Inc., Jordan Brand is a premium brand of footwear, apparel and accessories inspired by the dynamic legacy, vision and direct involvement of Michael Jordan. The Jordan Brand made its debut in 1997 and has grown into a complete collection of performance and lifestyle products for both men and women. The Jordan Brand remains active in the community by donating a portion of its proceeds to Jordan Fundamentals, an education grants program for teachers.

The Breakdown of the “Jordan Empire”:
(From Daily News article in 1999 by Phyllis Furman)
-Contract with the Chicago Bulls: $ 33 million a year.
-Commercial endorsements for such companies as Nike, MCI WorldCom, Gatorade, McDonald's and Hanes: $33 million
-Warner Bros. movie Space Jam grossed $230 million
-Books based on Jordan's life including Rare Air: $17 million.
-Michael Jordan cologne from designer Bijan: $155 million
-Air Jordan line of footwear and apparel with long-time partner Nike expected to bring in tens of millions.
-Hanes line of Michael Jordan underwear: $10 million a year
-Restaurants, Michael Jordan's The Steak House NYC, and Chicago
-Jordan Sports videos, including Michael Jordan: Come Fly with Me: $80 million

Across the board Michael Jordan’s success can be seen. He began he story as a basketball superstar but in addition to his numerous accomplishments on the court, has become an icon off the court as well. Michael Jordan is a quality product we trust. His liability and credibility make him extremely valuable as a branded figure.

Michael Jordan also has the ability to withstand the test of time. Even though his career as a basketball player has been over for years now, he is very much an active part of our lives. Michael continues to push the values that built him and made him the successful brand he is today.

We can learn from Michael Jordan’s success the important of audience perception and credibility. We also can see the power of celebrity endorsements. Whether we like it or not, the media has great power. Michael has used that power to build is own branded empire.

We can look at a few cases of other individuals who have branded themselves in a similar way. We can look at people like Tiger Woods, David Beckham and even Oprah Winfrey. They are all celebrities in the public eye who use the quality of themselves as a product to endorse other products.

Oprah Winfrey has worked very hard and succeeded on numerous levels at developing herself as a brand. Winfrey is a credible source trusted by her audience. Any book that goes on Oprah’s Book Club List is always an instant best seller. Dr. Phil and Dr. Oz, frequently featured on her show, are both instantly viewed as highly credible sources by her association. Oprah’s Favorite Things episodes feature things she enjoys for the upcoming seasons, and generally all the products fly off the shelves after she endorses them. Through her television show, magazine, production company and much more Oprah has found widespread recognition as a brand herself.

Tiger Woods has become a huge success in the world or sports marketing and branding. Woods has a multi million dollar contract with Nike. Tiger exclusively wears Nike apparel and plays with Nike balls and clubs. In addition, Nike Golf brand extensions have been created. Woods has his own brand of Gatorade and millions of dollars of endorsements with a variety of quality companies as well. Tiger Woods is well on his way to being a highly recognized brand. I could personally see Woods giving Michael a run for his money in the future. It will be interesting to see the branding progresses in the future.

David Beckham is recognized as a brand as well. Beckham has teamed up with big name partners like Adidas, Gillette, Motorola and Pepsi. Beckman is recognized as the Michael Jordan of soccer. Soccer is a sport that although doesn’t have wide appeal in the United State, but has massive success and respect around the world. This is something that makes Beckham a very important brand as he was more world wide recognition.

Even a powerful brand like David Beckham finds himself star struck by someone like Michael Jordan. Beckham was overwhelmed when he found himself at the same restaurant as Jordan. “"The most star-struck I have ever been was when I met Michael Jordan in a restaurant - even though he was sat at a table with Madonna.” According to an article by Richard Simpson from The Evening Standard in London.

Nonetheless, they are all likely to be compared against Mike. Oprah is the Michael Jordan of talk show hosts. Tiger is the Michael Jordan of golf and Beckham is the Michael Jordan of soccer. Although they may come close, in my opinion they do not compare to Michael Jordan success, strength and quality as a recognized brand.

Become Legendary
Integrated marketing campaign featuring Michael Jordan and an All-Star “Team Jordan” launched in 2008.

The campaign’s slogan is “Become Legendary” as an inspirational tribute to Michael Jordan. The campaign is also celebrating the 23rd year of the success of the brand Air Jordan. "The Air Jordan XX3 is a benchmark achievement for Jordan Brand because it culminates the success of the brand's contribution to the athletic footwear industry and the significance of the number 23," according to Howard White, Vice President, Jordan Brand in an article from BNET Buisness Network.

“Team Jordan” athletes will include Ray Allen, Carmelo Anthony, Derek Jeter, Terrell Owens, Chris Paul and many others. The campaigns goal is to reach for your dreams and accheive on and off the court. The launch of the Air Jordan XX3 and the new brand signature signals a transition from Michael Jordan as a player to a coach so that all people can look to follow in his footsteps to “Become Legendary” in their own right,”according to Jordan Brand Manager Roman Vega.

Kris Peterson
I spoke with Kris Peterson who works as a Director of Communications with Penn State Woman’s Basketball. She believed that Michael Jordan was one of the most recognizable celebrities of our time. She also mentioned that many younger athletes wear number 23 because it’s branded as a number that conveys power, strength or skill as an athlete. Players pick the number to represent something that Michaels stands for and because they probably respected him or were inspired by him as an idol when they were growing up.

Peterson believed Jordan was a huge marketing success and that anything with Michael Jordan’s name on it receives instant credibility because of the name behind it. Consumers across all boundaries trust Michael Jordan, not just athletes, but everyone knows the name and what he stands for as a quality brand.

Know what your good at. In class we talk about sticking to your niche. Michael obviously has his own Jordan shoe brand with Nike that is solely his product, his name his brand extension of himself. However, Mike tried his talents on baseball. And although he is a great marketing success and basketball success, baseball was not Jordan’s niche. That’s the only negative critique I have on this case of Michael Jordan as a brand.

Works Cited Page

Lovinger, C. (1997). Ideas and Trends: They Are Sort of Like Mike [Electronic version].
The New York Times. from Lexis Nexis.

Simpson, R. (2001, November 23). Two Men I Look Up To, by Beckham. The Evening Standard. from Lexis Nexis.

Furman, P. (1999, July 14). The Jordan Buisness Empire. The Daily News. from Lexis Nexis.

What Does $250 Million Smell Like? Ask Michael. (1999, October 25). Business Wire. from Lexis Nexis.

Friedman, W. (1999, January 18). Jordan the Star Athlete Retires, Jordan the Brand Comes to Life. Advertising Age. from Lexis Nexis

Jordan Brand Unveils 'BECOME LEGENDARY' New Brand Campaign in Celebration
of the Air Jordan Legacy. (2008, January 8). Business Wire. from Lexis Nexis.

Dukcevich, , D. (2001, September 28). Michael Jordan Profile. from
Michael Jordan. (2008, October 3). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. from
Vancil, M. (1991, December). Michael Jordan: Phenomenon. Hoop Magazine. From
Air Jordan #23: A Tribute to Michael Jordan. from
Michael Jordan Bio (2008). Retrieved October 6, 2008, from

The New York Times
January 17, 1999, Sunday, Late Edition - Final

Ideas & Trends; They're Sort of Like Mike BYLINE: By CAITLIN LOVINGER

FOR some people, life without Michael Jordan is unthinkable. But although Jordan retired from the Chicago Bulls and the game of basketball last week, there's still a Michael Jordan of snowboarding. And a Michael Jordan of bull riding. Even a Michael Jordan of real-life bulls.
No sport is too obscure to have its legions of coaches, fans, opponents, writers and publicists ready to crown a king. In sports, there's only one king: Michael Jordan…..
The Evening Standard (London)
November 23, 2001

The two men I look up to, by Beckham BYLINE: Richard Simpson

WHO makes Britain's bestknown male celebrity starstruck? The answer came today when David Beckham revealed it was American R'n'B star Usher and basketball player Michael Jordan.
In a Radio 1 interview today, Beckham, 26, says he was so overawed when he met Michael Jordan at a restaurant that he just sat there staring until wife Victoria berated him.
The England captain said: "The most star-struck I have ever been was when I met Michael Jordan in a restaurant - even though he was sat at a table with Madonna.
"I was just staring saying 'God - that's Michael Jordan!' "Madonna sent a bottle of champagne over and we had to say thank you. Michael Jordan stood up and shook my hand - and his hand covered the whole of my arm. I had met Madonna a couple of times before and Victoria had met her too. I'd like to swap places with Michael Jordan for a week."
Beckham also said he idolised Usher. He said: "Usher asked if he could get a ticket for a game.To meet him was really good - but quite nerve-racking." He went on: "There are certain people I look up to.
Sportsman-wise I have always looked up to people like Muhammad Ali, and football-wise Eric Cantona and Bryan Robson are my heroes." He also spoke about the way the public treats him now."The reaction has been amazing. But it's always been like that really. Since the Greece game, it's been phenomenal."
Daily News (New York)
January 14, 1999, Thursday


Don't cry for Michael Jordan.
The basketball legend is leaving the NBA, but he will continue to score as one of the most sought-after pitchmen in sports.
The Chicago Bulls star is the world's highest-paid athlete endorser, netting $ 50 million for touting such world-class companies as Nike, MCI WorldCom, Gatorade and McDonald's.
"If you set out to create the perfect sports pitchman, you couldn't come up with anything better than Michael Jordan," said Bob Williams, president of Burns Sports, a sports marketing firm.
"The Michael Jordan brand remains extremely viable," he said.
Commerce Secretary William Daley yesterday said Jordan has about a $ 10 billion affect on numerous arenas and the impact (of his resignation) is enormous.
Jordan's contract with the Chicago Bulls paid him $ 33 million a year.He earns $ 33 million from commercial endorsements for such companies as Nike, MCI WorldCom, Gatorade, McDonald's and Hanes, making him the world's highest-paid sports pitchman.Thanks to Jordan's star power, the Warner Bros. movie "Space Jam" grossed$ 230 million. Books based on Jordan's life, including blockbuster "Rare Air," have logged nearly $ 17 millionin sales. Michael Jordan cologne from glitzy designer Bijan has generated sweet revenues of $ 155 millionThe Bulls star recently launched his own line of footwear and apparel with long-time partner Nike. It's expected to bring in tens of millions. A Hanes line of Michael Jordan underwear, valued at $ 10 million a year, adds even more to the athlete's empire. Jordan has two restaurants, Michael Jordan's The Steak House NYC, and another in Chicago, to put some more green into his pocket. Jordan Sports videos, including "Michael Jordan: Come Fly with Me," flew off the shelves to the tune of $ 80 million
Advertising Age
January 18, 1999
BYLINE: Wayne Friedman

With his retirement from basketball, the transformation of Michael Jordan from superstar athlete to venerable megabrand is complete. And Nike will be the first to take advantage of that.
Starting this summer, Nike for the first time will extend the Jordan line of basketball shoes and apparel into other sports. The first product will be a cross-training shoe under the Jordan Brand, handled by Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore. Baseball, football, running and tennis products also are being considered.
''Nike started as a running company and then grew into a number of other categories,'' said Larry Miller, president of the Jordan division at Nike. ''We think we have the same opportunity starting with basketball and expanding into other sports as a true sports brand.''
Life after Michael Jordan's basketball career is as key an issue for Nike as it is for the National Basketball Association and its TV partners. Some 5% of all Nike revenue, about $370 million, comes from Mr. Jordan's line of basketball shoes and apparel.
AN IMAGE TRANSCENDING SPORTS And like most of Mr. Jordan's business partners, Nike believes the superstar's brand image transcends sports and will be viable long after his basketball career has ended.
''We have the most recognized person in the world,'' Mr. Miller said. ''His appeal transcends sports, gender, race and age. We think that appeal is going to continue into the future.''
It will be a slightly different appeal, though. Nike expects to alter the ways in which it markets the Jordan Brand now that the Chicago Bull has hung up his uniform for the second -- and probably final -- time.
''We are looking at marketing more Michael the person,'' Mr. Miller said. ''Things like hard work and dedication, excellence and being prepared. It's not focusing on whether he can score 40 points -- it's the characteristics that made Michael able to score 40 points.''
Other marketing executives agree the Jordan brand has considerable staying power.
''His name as a brand will not only go well beyond his playing career but beyond his life span,'' said Tom George, senior VP-athlete marketing for sports marketing agency Advantage International.
Some products, Mr. George said, won't perform as well over the long term.
In particular, he pointed to licensed products such as Michael Jordan lunch boxes and backpacks, noting that fickle kids are constantly shifting their loyalties.
Baby boomers are the demographic that most identifies with the 35-year-old Mr. Jordan, Mr. George said, and that could create new endorsement opportunities down the road in such areas as insurance and financial services.
Mr. Jordan virtually singlehandedly created the modern sports marketing industry and transformed the role of celebrity endorsers. Forbes has estimated his annual endorsement income at $45 million, the highest of any pro athlete.
And with multiyear deals from Nike, General Mills, MCI WorldCom, Quaker Oats Co.'s Gatorade, Rayovac Corp. and Sara Lee Corp.'s Hanes, Mr. Jordan will continue to be the frontman for a range of consumer product companies for at least the next 10 years.
Analysts estimated his endorsements generate $500 million in sales for the companies he represents.
''Thirty years from now, he'll still be one of the top five sport endorsers,'' said Bob Williams, president of Burns Sports Celebrity Service.


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