NYSE Ticker: NKE
Brand Name: The company takes its name from Nike – the Greek Goddess of Victory
Subsidiaries : Cole Haan, Umbro, Hurley, Converse
Was founded in 1964 as Blue Ribbon Sports by University of Oregon track athlete Philip Knight and his coach Bill Bowerman and officially became Nike in 1978. The company initially operated as a distributor for Japanese shoe maker Onitsuka Tiger
1) The ‘Swoosh’ logo and the ‘Just Do It’ taglines are recognized trademarks of the company
2) The Swoosh was designed by Carolyn Davidson, a graphic design student at Portland State University for which she was paid $35 (she was later given stock in 1983)
3) One of their 1970s ad claimed their growth was largely due to ‘Word-of-Foot’ advertising.
4) Dan Weiden of Weiden and Kennedy came up with the ‘Just Do It’ tagline. Wieden credits the inspiration for the slogan to “Let’s do it”, the last words spoken by Gary Gilmore before he was executed.
5) Their first professional athlete endorser was Romanian tennis player Ilie Năstase, and the company’s first track endorser was distance running legend Steve Prefontaine.
6) The brand was the focus of criticism for its use of the Beatles song “Revolution” in a 1987 commercial, against the wishes of Apple Records, the Beatles’ recording company. They discontinued airing ads featuring “Revolution” in March 1988. Yoko Ono later gave permission to use John Lennon’s “Instant Karma” in another advertisement.
7) In 2004, an ad about LeBron James beating cartoon martial arts masters and slaying a Chinese dragon in martial arts offended Chinese authorities, who called the ad blasphemous and insulting to national dignity and to the dragon. The advertisement was later banned in China. In early 2007, the ad was reinstated in China for unknown reasons.