The IronDog Chronicles

Choice Words from Bret Dougherty

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KEXP – Inside Paul’s Boutique

July 23rd, 2015 · No Comments

The beauty of independent radio still stands with the exploration of KEXP’s ‘Inside Paul’s Boutique’ tomorrow afternoon, (Friday, July 24th.) Check out the KEXP preview for the 6AM-6PM PST programming block…Delectable listening fun.



They’re going to be digging deep with the album, playing all 15 album tracks, more than 100 sampled selections, and rare bonus tracks and demos, plus new interviews with album co-producers The Dust Brothers (John King and Mike Simpson) and an exclusive archival chat with the Beastie Boys aired throughout the day.

And how can I forget? Check out this incredible resource for ‘Paul’s Boutique’ sample listings and background research.

Get the speakers bumpin’ from the back of your Fleetwood.


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Canary Sounds from the Coal Mine

July 23rd, 2015 · No Comments

Checking back in after a long hiatus…We’ll be right back with more fun info, nuggets of knowledge, and posts. Get out there this summer.

Seashells and Balloons, 


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Silver 23/25

February 12th, 2010 · No Comments

Where did time go?…

We have gone 25 years since the launch of the Air Jordan, and we watched the brand grow from a underdog wonder to a branding behemoth.  The fact is that despite Mike’s retirement for the past seven years, we’re still mesmerized by the ‘win’ image that the brand represents.

How powerful is the Jumpman logo.  Well, this blogga still remembers the conversation at House of Hoops in Manhattan etched the memory bank. When he House of Hoops clerk was asked why kids and teens still buy the Jumpman over the Nike LBJ (LeBron’s line), the quick reply simply said it all.  “The dude has no rings.”  Discussion settled.

With the ’23’ for 25 years in celebratory mode, Brand Jordan is having an whirlwind of a weekend to launch the Air Jordan 2010 and to celebrate the brand’s 25th Silver Anniversary.

One of the cool commemorative events that the marketing aficionados at Brand Jordan instituted is the 23/25 Energy Experience at this weekend’s All-Star Game.  Check out the pics here from…Hot stuff.

The brand managers for Brand Jordan know how to throw a party to draw fans for the experience.  Brand Jordan is displaying a powerful lesson in experiential marketing with performances from hipsters Wale and DJs Bobbito and Rich Medina to an interactive wall that explores the 25 years of Air Jordan, to offering free laser-etching of the Nike ‘Flight’ and Jumpman logos on iPhones and laptops.

The ‘cool’ factor still stems from the excellence on the court.  Yet, give a kudos to sharp and sleek experiential marketing and brand integration with an event like the NBA All-Star Game.  The transformed space is not only fresh for fans, but also maintains the luxury prestige for an athletic wear brand.

Another sharp switch is this year’s promotion of Dwayne Wade to chief spokesman of the Jumpman Brand on-the-court.

Over the past decade, the brand took a hard jab-step to appeal to a more hard-core urban image with promoting Carmelo Anthony and Richard Hamilton as the main spokespeople for the brand.  The move to shift ‘D-Wade’ from Converse to Jordan Brand stable of athletes such as Chris Paul and Derek Jeter not only is a cleaner look for the brand, but also Wade passes the litmus test of ‘winning’ which successful for other mass-brands such as T-Mobile and Gatorade.

If you haven’t checked out the TV ad because you have been zipping through commercials via DVR, check out the ad here.  (Kind of a throwback to the ‘Frozen Moment’, peoples..Compare below the previous to check out the influence.  The critic here says ‘thumbs-up’ for keeping the heritage alive.)

Along with the television ad, Brand Jordan plastered across every medium to promote the launch of the Air Jordan 2010.

Now, with the celebration of the Silver Anniversary, please remember that the roots are in Chicago, peoples.  Hopefully, the alliance between Wade and Brand Jordan is a small sign that he’s coming back to run a South Side play with Derrick Rose. 

Now, that would be a reason to throw a party.  



→ No CommentsTags: Advertising · Basketball · Brand Jordan · Branding · Footwear Industry · Marketing · Media · Nike · Sports Marketing · Urban Culture

Nice Flight

December 18th, 2009 · No Comments

Put a ‘S’ on your chest, and see what sticks…

Here’s a thumbs-up from Air Tran for developing a solid partnership to combat the lock that Southwest Airlines has placed around the NBA marketing partnerships.  This past week Air Tran signed Dwight Howard as a premier endorser.

Howard who will be featured in radio spots, online
advertising and high-impact billboards, You have to think that with Howard’s budding presence in the elite status of the NBA guard may push Air Tran to push into television with either Howard’s success or if the Magic return to the Finals…(Says here that will never happen with Stan Van Gundy…;)

For a nice twist, AirTran
Airways and Orlando Magic executives, unveiled the “Magic 1″ — a
one-of-a-kind Boeing 717 painted in the Magic’s colors — in Orlando,
Fla.  Nice tie-in with the product and Eastern routes.

What’s interesting to see is how the new guard of NBA athletes with little publicity from their NCAA experience are partnering with their brands and how they launch into the minds of the sports viewing public.

From the look of this partnership, Howard is capitalized huge upon keeping a solid image,  placing that ‘S’ on his chest during last year’s NBA Dunk Contest, and to helping with the drive to last year’s Finals…Not bad for a son of the ATL.

Fly Well,


→ No CommentsTags: Advertising · Basketball · Branding · Online Marketing · Sports Marketing

Top Rank Targeting

November 13th, 2009 · No Comments

Who says boxing is dead these days…

Good to see that the Manny Pacquiao/Miguel Cotto fight in Las Vegas tomorrow night has created a lot of post-mortem hype for the so-called dying sport.  Now, if only the fans who downplay boxing’s populartiy would just go to the markets where the sport thrives.

Well, here’s kudos to Tecate for a branding campaign that has performed a powerful geo-targeting punch to target the hispanic and urban markets that still adore the fight game.


According to this Mediapost article, sales have responded in the past with a 20-30% increase. What impresses here is that Tecate has taken a step toward developing strong geo-targeted rebate offer to accompany their TV, Radio, and in-store promotions such as mass displays, and commemorative beer can designs. Tecate has not only sponsored the upcoming fight in Mexico and Latino markets in the U.S., but they have a solid discount offer through a $25 mail-in discount with a 18 pack purchase to entice viewers for the fight with a rebate offer for Pay-Per-View viewer.

With the offer good for California, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, and Utah, a geo-targeted rebate offer is not a bad idea for attracting the viewers who need a rebate during these tough times, especially with targeting a lower income market. More importantly, what a sharp way for a strategic partnership between Top Rank and a niche brand to capture the attention of a target market in sports marketing while the noise of the sports viewing world is blaring with NFL, college football, NBA, and college basketball action.

This blogga is interested to see how the “Tecate Mobile Boxing Ring” will play out…Please hold the cheese. However, if in Vegas, this blogga would take full advantage of the Tecate promotion of offering fans seat upgrades…Nice play.

To get you hyped for tomorrow’s fights, here’s a nice preview from ‘Queensberry’s Rules.’ Queensberry provides two strong clips from HBO for you to review for both fighters…Be sure to check them out below.

Here’s for Miguel Cotto…Will he ever be the same after the Margarito fight? After watching HBO’s 24/7 series, he seems to be in great shape.

Here’s a brief review of Manny Pacquiao’s feats…No one matches his punching power and totals…And can anyone ever stop him with Freddie Roach’s tutelage?

If you’re up for catching the fight in Chicago, drop a line here, and you can join the IronDog Chronicles crew for night on the town…Dress classy…It’s fight night.


→ No CommentsTags: Advertising · Boxing · Marketing · Sports Marketing

Kicks Here – Push There

October 26th, 2009 · 1 Comment

Here’s to the blogging sneakerheads getting their due…

With sneaker blogs falling under the mainstream publishing umbrellas of late, marketers are reaching out to sneaker bloggers and other urban culture aficionadoes to push wares and other products for influence and sway.  Good to see that the marketing trade rags are preaching to the massess that bloggers do have an influential say in the consumer world.

Check out Todd Wasserman’s article, ‘Stomp!’, in BrandWeek

The article details how sneaker companies are not only reaching out to bloggers, but also are forming relationships with the sneaker aficionados and the purveyors of cool who drive urban culture.  The days of placing the latest models on endorsement feet and hoping for the best is long gone and is now only just a part of the game.  Footwear companies are looking to join the conversation rather than than the traditional route of buying magazine ads and billboard placements.

The cool thing about using blogs and blog networks is that the posts live longer than a print ad or flyer.  The ad not only lives online through indexed pages, but also can be read over and over again by hundreds of potential tastemakers who continue to research the post for hot info on where to buy, what’s hot, and who is wearing what wares.

A post on NiceKicks, HypeBeast, or SneakerFreaker, Complex, or Freshness Mag, and the product review lasts for every sneakerhead, style geek, or collector who searches the words ‘Nike SB’ can last for weeks…if not years.

For example of how brands are targeting sneaker blog posts, check out today’s Complex ‘Sneaker Essentials’ for Nike/Brand Jordan’s release of the ‘Melo VI.’

The reader not only receives the latest update on the ‘Melo VI’ release, but also receives commentary on what ‘Melo’s favorites were over the past year.  Also, there are direct opportunities for comments to either downgrade or upgrade the shoe.  Whether good or bad, the end result is a conversation with a consumer…about your brand.

As seen in the comments, you get a mix that ranges from “Carmeolo KEEPS coming out with UGLY shoes….DAMN” to readers actually determining whether or not Melo’s decision of wearing the ‘Melos’ to a wedding reception toe the line of cool.

(Ed. Note:  This blogga has adored rocking Jordan models to the office, but to a wedding reception was played out by ’95.  For this blogga, the patent leather blacks have always been a little too bourgeois for tastes.  If ‘Melo is really down about rocking a tux or his Melos to a wedding reception, how about producting light blue or even hot teal model for backwoods prom season….Coun-try.)  

Regardless of where the direction on the commentary heads, the end result is a powerful conversation with the audience.

With the Complex “Sneaker Essentials” commentary, Brand Jordan was not only given immediate feedback to make adjustments accordingly for adjusting colorways or tweaks for upcoming products lines, but also the possible idea of switching materials and creating a patent leather version for consumers who are looking to dress-up the shoe.

The empowering takeaway is that companies are seeing the true value of conversing the consumer.  Companies such as Nike, Adidas, Vans, Under Armour, and New Balance are allowing…if not inviting…bloggers to produce content about their products and upcoming releases.

With the demand for face-time and real-time exposure to cultural tastemakers rising above the brim, brands that drive the conversation rather than react to the discussion are ahead of the game.  In today’s world, the overall goal for marketers is not how to control the conversation, but how to engage in the conversation.

Stunting Off-Court,


→ 1 CommentTags: Advertising · Ball Postings · Brand Jordan · Footwear Industry · Marketing · Nike · Online Marketing · Online Media · Sneakerheads · Sports Marketing

Rise Up – Adidas ‘It’s On Me’ Campaign

October 20th, 2009 · 1 Comment

Here’s a thumbs-up for solid ad-work from the three stripes…

This blogga has been a fan of emphasizing the messages and insights surrounding the concept of ‘team’ in basketball marketing campaigns which is why I’m giving a thumbs-up for Adidas’s new ‘Brotherhood’ campaign.  Check out the new campaigns here from

I’m not just saying this because of Chicago’s Finest, Derrick Rose, is a nice addition to the Adidas line-up, and I also dig his ‘It’s on me, to break you off quick’ quote.  Yet, I believe that the Adidas campaign is a nice continuance of emphasizing ‘the whole is better than the sum of the parts.’

From 2007’s ‘Brotherhood’, ‘It Takes 5ive’ and the 2007 Teamwork, the campaigns are not only compelling, but also carry the same message with their stable of athletes with a wide array of convergence through different mediums.

Along with the TV ads, the site includes sharable videos featuring each NBA ambassador, behind the scenes footages, wallpaper downloads and a ‘Become an NBA All-Star’ game from EA Sports.  The game gives away an “ultimate NBA experience” and VIP tickets to the NBA All-Star Game in Dallas.  Each vehicle adds up to create solid engagement and allows the consumer to follow the conversation in several venues. In fact, check out the contest that is partnered with EastBay.  With online retail sales in mind, the EastBay partnership provides the final touch for how to carry the consumer from the point of seeing the message all the way through to the buying decision.

Now, will all of this drive traffic for sales…? 

Unfortunately, only Adidas can tell on the number of responses.  According to this BrandWeek article and SportsSource, Nike still dominates the basketball world with a share of 18% for Nike and 75% for Brand Jordan. 

Despite the attempt to attack a two mega-brands under one giant marketing machine, one can quick look definitely say that campaign brings the consumer into a deep relationship with the Adidas basketball brand throughout the NBA season…Not bad for a six to seven month program that will carry the brand’s message throughout the season.

Looking at what Adidas is trying to accomplish with their product line, Adidas is  sending the right message to their target market which consists of people who are looking to take their basketball shoes to the court.

Adidas doesn’t have the cash reserves to compete with Nike on a branding and marketing spend level.  However, they have done a great job with what they have with summer camp marketing, their NBDL and NBA sponsorships, and solid messaging to knock-out Reebok and the up-and-comer of Under Armour with their Brandon Jennings campaign. The result is a sharply focused campaign that continues to drive all the way through their mediums of sponsorship, advertising, and in-store messaging.

From this point of view, Adidas is pushing the mercury up for the upcoming season.

P.S. (Ed. Note)  – Call me eerie…Yet, the television spot may be the 2010 version of the Converse Weapon campaign that debuted in ’86-87.  Same concept, nice call on the use of the NBA unis, great call on creating an endorsement team.  (Here’s a veiled request – Now, I know that he has a long-term contract with Adidas, but can they pull the plug on Tracy McGrady?…Call it a back injury for the campaign like he would and swallow the deal…He is plain flat out fizz.)

Kudos to US Agency 180 for putting this one together for the three stripes.   We shall see the return message from Nike at the All-Star Break.

Jab Steppin’,


→ 1 CommentTags: Advertising · Basketball · Footwear Industry · Marketing · Reviews · Sports Marketing

Barefoot Update

October 15th, 2009 · No Comments

People are on their toes…

I received a couple of emails and comments from the Vibram barefoot running post listed below.

Well, here’s more information on the barefoot craze from the famed ‘Roving Runner’ of the NYTimes.  Check out the article and video here from NYTimes writer, Brian Fidelman.

Fidelman interviewed Christopher McDougall, the insightful author of ‘Born to Run’ which profiles theTarahumara Indians, an indigenous tribe of people from Mexico, known to run long distances in thin sandals.   The book not only explores the history and culture of the Tarahumara but also examines the physiology and evolution of running, culminating in a spectacular 50-mile race through the country’s vast Copper Canyon.

McDougall owns a pair of Vibram Five Fingers, and the article and video detail a run that he shares with the ‘Roving Runner’ throughout Central Park.

McDougall explains the origins of barefoot running and the concepts of why barefoot running may be better for you in terms of support, preventing injuries, and improving your posture…After watching the run on ‘cream’ pavement, you see the directions that he’s heading with his simple theories.

This blogga may be going “Zola Budd” sooner than you think…;)  I’m behind the craze on this one.

Pushing Off the Front Toe,


→ No CommentsTags: Fitness · Footwear Industry · Running · Sneakerheads

Barefoot Breaks

October 8th, 2009 · No Comments

Bringing it barefoot…Zola Budd style…

I knew that Vibram, the famous Italian manufacturer of sole shad picked up speed with the promotion of barefoot running over the past two years with their Vibram Five Finger shoes.

The five finger shoes have been flying high with a lot of buzz with funky footwear heads, runners, and people who are looking for any thing to rescue ailments in their feet.  However, after reading this SFGate article, another barefoot running concept appears ready for tackling the market.

When you consider that there are waiting lists for each Vibram batch, you have to assume that the big-name manufacturers of Nike, Adidas, Asics, Mizuno, and others are going to jump into the foray for a counter-attack.

Despite the success of the Nike Free Running shoe line, I would like to see how Nike responds with the Five Finger shoes.

When the Nike Free was first released, even this blogga had a terrible time with durability issues and was about to give-up on the concept.  However, since the restructuring of the original line from 2006, I’ve been a huge fan of the Nike Free models, but how about a new version of the Air Rift from ’95?

The Air Rift certainly deserves a classic rating for sneakerheads.  The original Rift was designed with barefoot running in mind and to emulate the minimal shoe methods that were found in the high-altitude running ranges of Kenya’s Rift Valley which is a hotbed for producing world-class runners since the ’60s.  (Build your knowledge of ’68 and ’72 Gold Medalist, Kip Keino, the lineage is amazing.)

The Air Rift was an innovative shoe and oozed style like no other running shoe when the model debuted.  I can still remember the funk that emanated from runners wearing them in their post-race runs.

However, as seen with most innovative shoe models, (Shox, AF1s, sport sandals)  they all go the way of the Crocs and find the mainstream boom.  As for the Rift, blame Madonna and her fashionista cohorts in the mid-90s, and all of a sudden, we saw hot pink, leopard skin, and other horrendous color combinations that absolutely tore at the core of the Rift and relegated them to the same collection as the Nike AquaSock.

Perhaps Zola Budd was way ahead of the game in the early ’80s?  Who knows?  Maybe we’re looking for another fad to jump on for an edge and to get closer to the ground.  Yet, with all of the success that is coming from new methods in training barefeet, here’s a thumbs-up to protecting those pads…No more bandaged toes, right.

The cool thing is that the Vibram shoes are releasing the models in trickles.  After viewing my boy’s pair last night at IO, I have to say that I’m highly impressed by the durability of the shoe especially when I see that they’re not only washable, but can handle the grit and grime of city streets.

After spending a strong portion of the decade on Belk Track in Chapel Hill and watching UNC Runners running barefoot on the field for training, I’m digging the fact that another company has pushed the edge for training purposes.  Another benefit is that we may be seeing a shoe model that will push the Nike Free models in the marketplace for emulating the barefoot running experience and training.

I just hope that we’re not seeing the second wave of the Crocs because the Five Fingers concept is truly a smart shoe that is worn by smart people.

Off the Front Toe,


→ No CommentsTags: Cool Products · Fitness · Footwear Industry · Nike · Sneakerheads · Sports Marketing · Uncategorized · Urban Culture

Review of the Last Great Era of Boxing: Four Kings

October 1st, 2009 · No Comments

Here’s a one-two punch for you on recommended boxing reads…

While we’re growing long-in-the-teeth for the great rivalries of the ’80s to return to the ring, I picked up George Kimball’s ‘Four Kings: Leonard, Hearns, Hagler, Duran, and the Last Great Era of Boxing.’ 

Ray Leonard, Marvin Hagler, Thomas Hearns, and Roberto Duran are among the major colonnades of the ’70s and ’80s for boxing.  A lot of fight fans can argue what era and class remains the golden age of boxing.  Yet, when you observe the careers of these four fighters, you would be hard-pressed to argue against the tenure of their time.

In fact, if HBO and their mesmerizing 24/7 series portrayals of boxers today would have been available in the mid-80s, boxing would have remained one of the most popular sports today.  I just wish that someone could turn the classic footage from the HBO Boxing preludes for each fight into a mini 24-7 series…HBO’s Greatest Fights are close, but we need more.

Yes, it’s true.  The stories of Leonard, Duran, Hearns, and Hagler and how they intertwined haven’t been highly described or investigated in detail.  Fortunately, Kimball had the inside look at each fighter’s climb with his job writing at the Boston Herald.

Throughout the book, he details the camp, pre-lim fights, and although Kimball interjects a lot of his own personal recollections and ‘I was there’ descriptions that can stall the stroies, he provides sharp detail in each fighter’s career.  He also gives the chewy analysis upon how each fighter intertwined with one another for each fight.

Yet, the treats are found in the details provided by his notes and hanging with the great men who were in the corners.  For example, due to his proximity to Brockton, Massachusetts as a Boston Herald reporter, Kimball pulls scintillating details from the rise of Hagler and through his conversations with Hagler’s trainers, Goody and Pat Petronelli. (Check out Phil Berger’s 1987 NYTimes article for a short snapshot of their triangle.)

From Kimball’s insights, you’re not only able to see what drove Hagler for his fights, but also feel the loyalty, trust, and close bonds that Hagler had instilled throughout his career.  Throughout the read, I grew to be a huge Hagler fan just alone upon the close circle that he kept throughout his career.

The sincere frustration that Hagler and the Petrocellis must have felt waiting for the big fights to come with Leonard and Hearns is symbolic of Hagler’s final fight with Ray Leonard…He was robbed.   The saving grace is that we saw him dominate the middleweight division for the time that we had.  The bottom line here says that Hagler is the statue of this era, and I wish that we could grab more details upon him and his management team.  He is what boxing is about and how fighters should handle their business.

Gems are also found in the conversations and details that Kimball gleams from Emmanuel Steward with his experience with Thomas Hearns.  Kimball takes great care to compile all of the tidbits to determine who was the greatest talent of them all, and if not for the drama often found in Hearns’s camps and pre-fight preparations, we may not even be questioning who the greatest fighter of all-time was.

Just for fun, take a look back at the Hearns-Duran fight…What a master display of three minutes.  The talent is incredible.

As for Leonard, Kimball eases through the events and depiction of Leonard. During the read, you definitely get to see the gloss that followed Leonard throughout his career and how the shine shielded a lot of his shortcomings in both in and out of the ring. After Leonard’s rise from the ’76 Olympics to the mainstream, you almost want to snicker at his results after the ‘No Mas’ decision.

Kimball also finds nice details surrounding the rise of Duran and his camps throughout the book.  If there is a fighter who seems to be neglected for his legendary career, it’s ‘El Cholo’, Roberto Duran, and Kimball fits the bill with great anecdotes and inside details.

(Here’s a treat for you classic fightheads out there…Special thanks to the person who put the tune behind this vid.)

Although the read provides great details, I would have liked to have seen more details and insights upon Roberto Duran, Kimball touches upon a lot of strong theories into Duran’s strategies, his famed ‘No Mas’ call, and his rise to the top of the heap. Yet, I would have liked to have heard more details from “Los Manos de Piedras” himself.

As a side note, unfortunately, with the passing of Duran’s long-time trainer and boxing legend, Ray Arcel, we’re not able to hear Arcel’s voice as often as any boxing aficionado would hope to have from the legendary cornerman…(Check out Dave Anderson’s “In The Corner” if you’re looking for more Arcel nuggets.  I’ll have another review for you shortly…I’m still reading the chapters on Eddie Futch, Kevin Rooney, and George Benson for a second go-around…Yes, that much fun.)

This reader would also like to see more answers of why Aaron Pryor couldn’t have been included into rotation…Now, the neglection of Aaron Pryor for the great welterweight division runs, that’s an overlooked story…Talk about a travesty for fight fans. (Note of bias:  Pryor is this blogga’s favorite all-time fighting talent…Bar-none.)

In a lot of ways, I found that the read is more like the diving into the footnotes of the great depictions that were found in SIs and Ring Magazines.  Lots of facts and interview snippets without a lot of gloss. The read also explores the great question:

Where are the big rivalries in the sport of boxing today…?

The book offers the mainstream opinions surrounding the topic.

First, the separation of divisions absolutely killed the rivalries.  Second, the networks of HBO, Showtime, and other cable outlets dividing the fighters for their own promotions and not allowing them to have bouts within their divisions in order to protect their own promotional interests for their boxing schedules.

Kimball adds another theory from Gil Clancy that is a simple one to add to the answer the puzzle for the fall of boxing in the late ’80s and ’90s…Crack. According to Clancy, you had a whole generation that was skipped because of the inner-city drug wars, and the result is that boxing lost it’s hold in the great urban cities.

From this blogga’s point of view, after watching the fall of USA Boxing over the past decade from our dominance in the Olympics, we need to know more. I wish that we could see rivalries nurture and grow like the ‘Four Kings.’  Yet, I think we’ll have to turn to tennis or even …Yeeech, the UFC in 40 years, to ever see a time like this one again.

Here’s to Brockton, Mass, Washington, D.C., Guarere, Panama, and Detroit, Michigan…Enjoy this read.

From the Parking Lot of Caesar’s Palace,


→ No CommentsTags: Boxing · Reviews