Wieden Readies Push for Nike’s Jordan Brand

Wieden & Kennedy is preparing concepts for what will be the most expansive campaign to date for Nike’s Michael Jordan brand line. The new work is slated to run between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
The Portland, Ore., agency is expected to continue the big-budget, art-deco-influenced theme of last spring’s “CEO Jordan” campaign, painting Jordan as more than a basketball icon, per the company’s plans to move the Jordan line into other sports and cross into casual and lifestyle wear by spring 2000.
Media spending on the campaign will depend on how much Nike marketers decide to mix it in with Nike branding work. But with the NBA lockout continuing, Jordan’s transcendent star appeal might provide a timely hedge against an uncertain basketball season.
“We’re developing ads more based on MJ the person and his values and characteristics, rather than MJ the basketball player,” said Larry Miller, president of the nascent Jordan brand.
The first brand Jordan sneakers separate from Air Jordans are due shortly. They include signature shoes for L.A. Laker Eddie Jones (dubbed the Star Six) and Seattle Sonic Vin Baker, plus the $85 Air Jordan women’s shoe, all versus the top-of-line $150 Air Jordan XIII, which ships in November. Nonhoop-specific products this year include velour and satin warmups and some outerwear. Brand Jordan will delve into training shoes and apparel but stop short of cleated products, Miller said.
Brand Jordan is projected to provide $350 million of Nike’s overall $9.6 billion in sales this year.
After the holidays, Nike is expected to use NFL broadcasts to launch Alpha, its next-generation high-end shoe and apparel line. Alpha will be painted as the new gold standard, and a showcase for Nike design. Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco is slated to handle that estimated $50 million launch.
–with Angela Dawson