By Jim Weber
Founder & CEO at Weber PPC
The Swoosh. “Just Do It.” Air Jordan.
Nike has long been one of the world’s most brilliant brands when it comes to marketing itself. And the new “Pro Hijab” to be released in the spring of 2018 that Nike announced this week is just the latest reason why.
Is there a need for female Muslim athletes to have a more comfortable head cover to work out in? Absolutely.
But don’t be fooled into thinking this is merely a product. A company worth nearly $100 billion is not counting on the “Pro Hijab” to become its next “Air Jordan.”
No, the hijab and accompanying “What Will They Say About You?” ad campaign is far more about Nike marketing itself to the 1.6 BILLION Muslims across the world and winning their loyalty as the Islamic world rapidly modernizes in the 21st century.
That’s 22% percent of the world’s population that Nike is appealing directly to, and an ever-increasing size of the sports apparel market as countries like Turkey and Jordan watch their populations trade in traditional Muslim garments for Western clothing.
The timing also couldn’t be more relevant.
We are seeing a wave of Islamophobia in the United States and across the world that is unprecedented in its scale and explicitness, as Donald Trump continues his attempt to institute a “Muslim ban” and French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen talks about outright banning the hijab and “burkini” swimsuit in public.
Meanwhile, one of Nike’s biggest competitors, Under Armour, has come under scrutiny for founder Kevin Plank voicing his support for Trump by calling the 45th President a “real asset” to the country. While Plank’s support was extremely vague and made no mention of the controversial Muslim ban, you better believe it’s clear to the Islamic world which sports brand stands with them and which one is at best indifferent to their plight.
And Nike is doing this without appearing overly political or having to spend much on advertising, as the amount of free media Nike has gotten from this product launch is massive. Just Google it.
Because at Nike, they’ve realized the best marketing campaigns are products that sell the company instead of vice versa.