I’ve been wondering whatever happened to the ‘YaoWorld’ takeover…
Yes, the marketing takeover of China and the American marketing strategy that was going to place surrounding Houston Rockets center, Yao Ming, fizzled over the past couple of years.
After reading Brook Larmer’s, “Operation Yao”, the strategy to launch the brand of Yao Ming seemed to be set in place with Reebok’s victory over Nike which landed the Chinese government’s poster boy for athletic excellence.
So, what happened to the marketing strategy and brand development of Yao Ming? Check out this article from last week’s WSJ by Mei Fong.
She touches upon why Reebok has been flat-footed with a Chinese marketing strategy, and she unveils a more puzzling revelation that Adidas who owns Reebok as a subsidiary actually thought about switching Ming over to Adidas because of their global resources. Three brands in the last five years in the development of Yao Ming…Ehhh, not a strong move.
I do agree with this factoid from the article.
“Now, Reebok appears to be getting back on track. It has slimmed down its stable of stars, moving away from links with entertainers and hip-hop artists and in the process freeing up more marketing dollars. It is devoting some 14% of its revenue to marketing in China instead of the 10% that is average in the industry, executives say.”
It’s about time Reebok remained focused upon sports and not the lifestyle components of the trade. Where the hell is Pharell now, huh..?
All that said, as the article points out in the end, I’m still sold on the concept that marketing big men are tough plays in the world of sports marketing. I actually thought that Nike almost knocked out that belief with Kevin Garnett in the mid-90s. Yet, when Garnett boogied on down the road, you could pile that strategy up with the launch of Reebok/Shaq, Nike/Adidas Tim Duncan, Nike/David Robinson, and Etonic/Hakeem Olajuwon…I’m still wondering what the impact was from Amare Stoudemire and the “House of Hoops.” (I have to admit that I was a fan of the Nike Air Total Force Max…Stoudemire’s slurred “..this is the House of Hoo-OOPss.” is a classic.)
The emergence of Greg Oden will be fun to watch, especially, when he recovers from his microfracture surgery. (It still says here that Oden was the right pick. Yet, I have to ask the question, did they do a full body examination before making the selection?)
The injury highly likely will leave the Trail Blazers with another lottery appearance, and Portland needed a great icon to re-market their image in the community after years of blundering off-the-court debacles. Oden is the peace-maker…Besides, Nike is pumped, which in the end is all that counts in terms of supporting the campaign of an athlete and his associated product line.
Check out the pic below that I captured before the draft in front of Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton.
Will big men ever be great marketing icons not only in the world of sports marketing but also in basketball marketing? Yao Ming and the Chinese market is more than just a solid testing ground. Then again, Nike may be way ahead of the game with Yi Jianlian…Don’t snooze.