Before the newest Air Jordan comes out, weigh in on all the previous models. After he "wear-tested" the Nike Air Ships for the first few months of his NBA career, Jordan -- with the help, ingenuity and foresight of executive Sonny Vaccaro, agent David Falk and designer Peter Moore, among others -- ignited the sneaker game that, three decades later, has become almost as important globally as the game of basketball itself. Because Jordan's name is still attached to his shoes -- and only his name, not necessarily Nike's -- we connect the signature shoe bearing his name directly to his spirit, performance and being. Logically, we know his sneakers are not going to make us "be like Mike," but there is a commercial and universal belief that having his shoes in our lives makes us more connected to him.
Few athletic icons rise in our consciousnesses faster than Nike. Who can deny the ubiquitous swoosh and its national, indeed global, impact on the ways in which we play our games and even view our own bodies?
Nike's advertising has assumed a lion's share of cultural capital which inserts itself into every nook and cranny of the American mindset. Nike appears atop the cultural pyramid and has perched there longer than most companies could dream.
Katz descries that "special Nike strain of the myriad intricacies of cool," whereby Nike has come to interject itself into the fabric of culture by defining what it means to be irreverent, athletic, and entirely 'with it.
One statement of purpose declares the company exists "to enhance people's lives through sport and fitness," while another imagines Nike engaged in "keeping the magic of sport alive" both Katz, Yet an underlying set of principles informs the Nike behemoth and contributes to its continued success.
This project intends to take an introductory look at those principles and synthesize them into a working model of American fitness culture as influenced by Nike. I'll preface with a number of questions designed to determine the loci of power for Nike and the fitness culture.
How have Nike's advertising campaigns influenced the American psyche and engendered a sharp focus on bodily appearance and fitness? Taking Nike's prime motivator as a for-profit corporation to be sales, what are the motivations for consumers to buy athletic apparel?
Does fitness signify status in American society? Does this point to a re-ordering of cultural priorities? Does the fit body merely inhabit sport culture or drive it?
Using the history of Nike as a jumping off point, one can begin to order the list of drives and desires that contribute to the fitness culture and Nike's place therein. Popular conceptions of the body and exercise didn't just appear overnight. Rather, they were the result of a long simmering that gradually came to represent what Americans now think about when they imagine fitness and exercise.
Looking to semiotic analysis of Nike's advertisements specifically those concerned with runningI hope to draw out some of the meanings and foundations of thought informing popular fitness culture and those who use it to make money, i.Footwear analyst Jennifer Black believes Jordan's impact on Nike's overall image--and thus on how consumers feel about the stuff they produce--is almost incalculable.
"I've been doing this for 18 years, and I have not seen anything like the power of the name, the ties to the consumer, and the sales generated by him," she says. Nike CEO Mark Parker likes to ask his team a single question: “Can we double our business, while halving our environmental impact?” The world’s largest athletic gear company, which first.
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This is the negative impact Nike has on society. There have been stories of people getting robbed for these high price shoes.
From Nike and Michael Jordan's .