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  • Writer's pictureDamian Burgess

A great story behind a great ad

Some ads are created around a campaign to target a certain audience around a certain product, some ads even make the news and are noteworthy... but there's one ad, a great ad and campaign that made it after its product was banned.

The ad is before my time, and only came to my attention after watching the recent Netflix series 'The Last Dance' about Michael Jordan plus the feature documentary, Unbanned on Amazon Prime about his famous trainer the Air Jordan 1.

Simply put, Nike made a trainer that was worn by Michael Jordan in the NBA and then the league banned it.

The trainer that was (maybe or maybe not) banned by David Stern and the NBA in 1985 was black and red, completely different to the all white trainers on everyone else, but Jordan kept wearing them and kept being fined every time he did, or so we thought.

Whether or not the trainer was banned for whatever reason by the league, it created news and inches in newspapers; and as you know any news is good news for marketing and Nike made the most of it and played up the hype.

The ad and the campaign from Nike for the Air Jordan 1's was pretty simple, the ad itself is very basic (as you can see below) but it caught everyones attention, it was about going against the rules and rebellion. This resonated with their target market, young adults and teens who wanted footwear that stood out and had personality.

Here's the ad...

"The NBA can't stop YOU from wearing them"

Now this ad wasn't the only thing that sold the trainer, AJ1's were released in Michael Jordans rookie year, but that rookie year and years after that Jordan dominated Basketball and that's what sold the trainer. The NBA banning the trainer and the adverts that followed just added to the story and created an amazing platform for Nike to move in to basketball, the rest as they say is history.


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