Saturday, August 23, 2008

Sponsorship and injury: Nike and Liu Xiang

Nike's top Chinese marketing vehicle was 110-meter Olympic hurdling champ Liu Xiang, who sadly pulled out of the Games with an Achilles' injury. An obvious disappointment for the athlete might have been a disaster for the company who had invested a considerable sum in promoting the association. Despite being forced to cancel congratulatory ads for the athlete on his success the footwear company acted quickly to appease the disappointed Chinese sports fans by taking out full page adverts in leading Chinese papers to support of Liu with the tag "Love sport, even when it breaks your heart."

A translation, from a version of the ad running in the English-language China Daily would be:

Love Competition
Love risking your pride
Love winning it back
Love giving it everything you’ve got
Love the glory
Love the pain
Love sport even when it breaks your heart

Nike spent a fortune sponsoring Liu Xiang and a host of other A-list Olympic athletes, but because adidas sponsors the Chinese Olympic Association, the German company insisted all the home nation’s medallists wore an adidas podium suit even if they had worn Nike top, shorts and running shoes when winning their medal.

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