Friday, February 02, 2007


Finally caught a winner yesterday, when Gilead jumped 12% on fantastic earnings and guidance. I sold it immediately, and I'll look to get back in if the price comes down again to the 65-66 range. Yes, that stock tip came from Cramer, not Henry Blodget.

But I wanted to devote today's blog to recognizing the genius of Nike's marketing department. With all the money Nike spends on marketing, these guys should be good...but then again, there are numerous examples of large amounts of money producing nothing but crap.

There are not many commercials that I look forward to seeing, and by "not many" I mean perhaps a half dozen during the course of my adult life. The last one I can remember was from Nike, called Swing Portrait, where Tiger Woods is shown swinging a golf club in slow-motion to classical music. As you watch the commercial, note the colors, the lighting, the perfect coordination between the music and the swing. It is simple, clean, elegant, and most of all - artistic. As a lover of both golf and classical music, I am predictably impressed by the ad, but it doesn't take either quality to appreciate the beauty here.

And now Nike has done it again, and perhaps even topped themselves, with the new Second Coming commercial. The music you hear beneath the mundane rap lyrics is from the fifth movement of the Symphonie Fantastique by Hector Berlioz. This song was commissioned by Nike just for this
campaign, and the use of the underlying track is pure genius. If you read the youtube comments on this and similar clips, you'll find pages of comments like "Just Blaze killed this beat" and "sick beat", etc. You'll find precious little awareness of the source of music (My favorite exchange between posters: "Isn't this the music that was at the beginning of the Shining?" "Nah, I hear that Just Blaze stole this track from some guy's MySpace page.") So by using the latest zero-talent rap flavor-of-the-week and some huge NBA stars, Nike is reaching the teen audience, while at the same time, an older guy like me turns his head when he hears the famous classical melody.

Thumbs up to Nike. As much as I'm annoyed by watching commercials in general, I can appreciate a job well done, even in this field. Once in a while, they go beyond the simple objective of "raising brand awareness" to produce actual art. If more marketing departments had the same creativity and understanding of broad appeal, I might be less tempted to DVR my favorite shows so I can skip the ads.


At 4:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Commercials can be interesting when creative (only rarely happens). As far as your favorite exchange showing no clue to the source music... at least the one commenting on "The Shining" was paying attention even if they aren't familiar with Berlioz. The opening credit sequence has a synthesized version of his Dies Irae.


Post a Comment

<< Home