I should preface this post with the caveat that at eatbigfish, we are big fans of Nike as a very successful company who operates with a Challenger Brand Mindset. As Phil Knight once said, ‘We are the industry goliath, but we stay that way by thinking and acting like the industry David.’ We’ve even had the privilege of working with them on more than one occasion, so we can vouch for the fact that they indeed have a lot of Challenger DNA.
So you can imagine my intrigue when my 11 and 7 year old boys, both of whom have just started to get into the Nike Air [Jordan] shoe phenomenon (as most tweens and teens do when they start playing hoops), brought to my attention this recent video by the up and comer, Macklemore:
I wonder if Nike ever expected that a compelling challenge to their venerable Nike Air and Air Jordan brand would ever come from the world of Rap music? After all, it seems that for the past 20 years the Hip Hop and Rap communities have been the early adopters endorsing the ‘sneaker head’ culture. Yet, here we now have someone from that community questioning the very ‘Dreams’ that the Nike brand represents, clearly calling them out as false idols and portraying a harsh reality that gets lost in the ‘dreams.’
It certainly got my two boys thinking about whether it’s ‘worth it’ to pay more than $100 for a pair of sneakers, and you know you’ve got a message that resonates when a 7-year old understands that it’s crazy for someone to murder someone over a pair of coveted shoes.
I suspect there are a few more out there who are connecting with this song as my boys did — just look at the 11 Million views and the ~90,000 ‘likes’ compared to the ~1000 ‘dislikes’ on YouTube alone. If you don’t like the numbers, then a quick look through the comment thread will show you that this song has touched a nerve — so it not only represents a viable challenge to the Nike brand, but perhaps it’s their worst Nightmare.
It will be interesting to see if and how the folks from Beaverton respond to this new challenge. Will Macklemore’s stone injure Goliath, or simply bounce off without any consequence?
What do you think?