Can A Brand Recover From A Decision?

Posted: October 29, 2010 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

In July, one of the sporting world’s most popular brands saw its stock instantly drop with a simple decision. Now this was not any run-of-the-mill screw-up that we’re accustomed to, but rather a guy who wanted to play with some friends. Sounds harmless right?

While I would agree with you most times, LeBron James’ decision to go on an hour-long special where he told the world where he would play falls somewhere under cruel and unusual punishment. Everyone from the Cleveland owner to distraught fans and media pundits took their shot at the league’s “King.” Unlike many free agents who crush the hopes and dreams of folks by leaving their team, he made a spectacle of it and ripped the heart out of his hometown fans and franchise.

Fast forward a few months and James is starting his season in Miami on a team that many have crowned the next champs. Should be fine right?  Well the LBJ brand is still in a kind of flux, instead of being the poster boy playing for a small market team, James is disliked. He’s also part of a three-headed monster and not the centerpiece of the franchise.

In a step to find a new identity James launched a new commercial with Nike that uses the Decision as the premise for finding a new identity while asking what should I do?

Nike has always been one to have awesome commercials and putting their athletes in a new light, but this commercial kind of confuses me. To be the poster child for the league and a giant shoe company is to be in charge and confident. The commercial leaves me wondering if there is a method to their marketing message and shows a brand with no clear direction.

I am not talking Nike here, but the LeBron James brand. Will he embrace the villain role, just ignore everyone, keep keeping on, or something else? Only time will tell, but if he wins, it should be a whole lot easier.

– Jeff Esposito (@jeffespo)

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