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How Jordans Transcended Ads

September 6, 2022
January 4, 2022
Mae Rice

Nike could run paid campaigns for its Air Jordans, but we haven't seen a paid Jordans ad in years (or ever). MarketerHire asked sneakerheads why that might be.

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Great question, Tina. We honestly haven’t seen a paid campaign for Jordans… ever.

That’s clearly not because Nike’s hurting for cash — they made ~$50B in 2021. So why is it?  

Jordans are a household name.

They’ve been around for 30+ years — the first Air Jordans launched in 1985 —  and kickstarted (heh) sneakerhead culture. 

They don’t need paid promo in the same way a startup does.

Superstars promote them. 

Michael Jordan is the tip of the iceberg. The Jordan Brand also teams up with celebrities on limited edition Jordans — from Russell Westbrook to Travis Scott

Celebrities also just wear them on red carpets because they’re trendy. For free.

Exclusivity creates buzz. 

Nike often releases limited-edition Jordans on its SNKRS app — and they sell out fast. 

In fact, resellers often use checkout bots to buy up new releases in bulk before humans can complete their online orders.  

“Exclusivity is a driving force in popularity,” Rich Bird, owner of sneaker resale shop Home Court, told MarketerHire.

Our takeaway?

Jordans don’t need print ads anymore, thanks to the brand’s (and its fans’) star power. 

But creative this good still pays off, in earned Twitter traction (30K RTs!) and merch sales.

Mae Rice
about the author

Mae Rice is editor in chief at MarketerHire. A long-time content marketer, she loves learning about the weird and wonderful feedback loops that connect marketing and culture.

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