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Cheryl L. Cole and Amy Hribar

We interrogate Nike’s implication in the developments of 1980s and 1990s popular feminisms by contextualizing and examining the advertising strategies deployed by Nike in its efforts to seduce women consumers. Although Nike is represented as progressive and pro-women, we demonstrate Nike’s alliance with normative forces dominating 1980s America. We suggest that Nike’s solicitation relies on the logic of addiction, which demonized those people most affected by post-Fordist dynamics. While Nike’s narrations of “empowerment” appeal to a deep, authentic self located at the crossroads of power and lifestyle, we suggest that these narratives offer ways of thinking/identities that impede political action. Finally, we consider the relations among Nike, celebrity feminism, and the complex and invisible dynamics that enable transnationals to exploit Third World women workers.

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Courtney Szto

Product (RED) was launched in 2006 as an initiative to activate the corporate sector in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Africa. In 2009, Nike joined Product (RED)’s list of corporate partners with its “Lace Up, Save Lives” campaign. Nike (RED) directs 100% of its profits toward HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention through the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and grassroots soccer programs in Africa. This case study questions the symbolism projected by Nike (RED) and its implications by applying Jean Baudrillard’s theories on consumption and hyperreality. The manner in which Nike (RED) represents Africa, HIV/AIDS, soccer, and sport for development and peace are all discussed as mediated simulations that position Nike as the producer of knowledge. Data analysis observes that Nike (RED) laces produce a hyperreality, whereby the origin of truth becomes, according to Baudrillard, indecipherable and soccer becomes more important than HIV/AIDS.

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George H. Sage

The focus of this study is on the organizational dynamics, collective actions, and outcomes of a transnational advocacy network that was formed to protest the labor practices of Nike’s sport shoe factories in Asia. Transnational advocacy networks arise and are sustained with the intent of changing social conditions. The Nike transnational network sought to improve the lives of workers in Nike factories in Asia so that they have jobs that pay a living wage, have good working conditions, can organize on their own behalf, and are treated with dignity and respect. A broad theoretical perspective that emphasizes the determinant and interactive effects of the emergence, development, and accomplishments of the Nike transnational network is employed.

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Koji Kobayashi

This paper explores the links between corporate nationalism and glocalization by examining Nike’s strategy of representing “the nation” within advertising campaigns in “Asia”. Drawing from interviews with advertising practitioners, this study offers two key findings: (a) sporting national identities are represented through a multilevel process of negotiations among various institutions and individuals; and (b) local cultural intermediaries play a central role in encoding and circulating the advertisements due to complex creative labor processes, symbolic struggles, and local sensibilities. Overall, the study illuminates the context of advertising production as the “multiple regimes of mediation” (Cronin, 2004) through which representations are negotiated and articulated under specific social relations, cultural codes, and conditions of production.

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Zhengjia Liu and Dan Berkowitz

Social media have changed the way that social actors participate in sports events. “Prosumers” are able to directly offer different interpretations without journalists’ mediation when a social issue arises. However, social media do not fundamentally change the significance of cultural narratives in communication. This study focuses on discussions initiated by a commercial feed on a Chinese microblogging site during the 2012 London Olympic Games. Qualitative textual analysis was conducted. The study found that enduring cultural narratives create the predrafts of social-media communication; the instantaneity of microblogging referred to not simply its physical appearance but also the meaning of that appearance. In addition, social-media texts illustrate a society’s ongoing stories. Going beyond the limitations of previous control-vs.-freedom paradigms, this study explores a Chinese consumer society that is more dynamic and complex than previous studies would suggest.

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Chrystal D. Denmark

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Cheryl L. Cole

In this paper l consider how the contemporary national imagination is fabricated through racially coded deviance by interrogating what Nike calls its P.L.A.Y (Participate in the Lives of American Youth) campaign. P.L.A.Y., represented as a practical challenge to recent developments that deny “kids” access to sport and fitness activities, is part of a promotional network through which Nike seeks to secure a patriotic, charitable, and socially responsible public profile. In part, this profile and the complex terrain Nike occupies are territorialized through the somatic identity of Michael Jordan. I argue that representative figures like American Jordan are both effects and instruments of modern power. As such, Jordan is an element in and expression of a discursive formation that works to delimit and render intelligible what/who count as violent, criminal, and dangerous. The regulatory ideals invoked through a nation-centric discourse, American principles, Michael Jordan, and the apparent inverse relationship between urban sport and gangs work to bound and limit identities in ways that mask the complexities of the terrain occupied by transnational corporations like Nike, while exacerbating punitive and vengeful desires directed at Black urban youth.

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Cheryl Cooky and Mary G. McDonald

In this article we explore the narratives that 10 White, middle-class female athletes, ages 11–14, (co)produce around their sport experiences. Through interviews, observation, and participant observation, we argue that, consistent with the advertising rhetoric of such multinational corporations as Nike, these girls all advocate hard work, choice, opportunity, and personal responsibility in playing sport and in challenging gender discrimination. We argue this reflects the girls’ subscription to elements of liberal feminism and to their frequent positioning as “insider-others”—that is, outside the dominant gender norms of sport but simultaneously the beneficiaries of Whiteness and middle-class norms. In contrast to Nike and liberal feminists who frequently argue for equal opportunity in sport, these girls’ insider-other narratives suggest the need for critical interrogation of the multiple meanings and effects of sport experiences.

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Marco Visentin, Daniele Scarpi and Gabriele Pizzi

In this research we develop a comprehensive model of sponsorship effects accounting for behavioral outcomes such as actual purchase, purchase intentions, and word-of-mouth referral intention. We recombine constructs that have been traditionally considered separately into three stages—assessment, elaboration, and behavior. We collect data on actual customers of Nike and Adidas flagship stores during the FIFA World Cup sponsorship. Basing on our results, we provide a consumer-oriented perspective on the role of attitude toward the brand, fit, and involvement with the event in determining customer reaction to sponsorship activities.

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Sanghak Lee and Seung-Chang Lee

Sport sponsorship has grown tremendously as the development of sport media, and popular companies such as Coca-Cola, Nike, Toyota, and Samsung have used sport sponsorship as one of their marketing communication channels. In addition, retailers (e.g., Home Depot, Target, Lotte Department Store) have become involved in sponsorship to achieve their marketing communication goals. Although many retail companies have invested in sponsorship, no retailer-specific sponsorship study has been suggested. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to propose a new sponsorship-effect measure using retail service quality (R-SERVQUAL). This study hypothesized that brand recall and team identification would influence R-SERVQUAL. The 2-way ANOVA revealed that the mean scores of R-SERVQUAL were high when sport fans’ brand recall (F = 12.58, p < .001) and team identification (F = 65.88, p < .001) were high, and R-SERVQUAL is suggested as a tool to evaluate the effects of sponsorship communication on the retail industry.