Li-Ning: Running with Nike + Adidas
A hilarious new video spot from Chinese athletic company Li-Ning. According to chinaSMACK, a number of Chinese sites are predicting Chinese expats in the US to take offence. But I think, if anyone, it’s the mainstream American population who are most like to take offence. See for yourself below.
The new spot is not the first time Li Ning has given people a reason to talk about his eponymous brand. In 2008, he hijacked Adidas’ official (and very expensive) sponsorship of the Olympic Games by completing a running lap around the top of the Beijing Olympic Stadium (Birds Nest) before lighting the cauldron. The stunt completely stole the show—especially for the hundreds of millions of Chinese viewers who already saw him as a national hero—and according to CNBC.com also managed to increase stock for the publicly listed company by 7 percent.
While Li-Ning is (by the company’s own admission) still a long way from over-taking Nike and Adidas, even in China. I believe the company will over-take these two athletic juggernauts in domestic sales within the next 10 years. Here are five reasons why:
- Li-Ning is already sponsoring Baron Davis (Basketball), Shaquille O’Neal (Basketball), Jose Calderon (Basketball), Hasheem Thabeet (Basketball), Yelena Isinbaeva (Pole Vault) and Ivan Ljubicic (Tennis).
- Li-Ning understands the need to become a global brand and that it takes more than just sponsoring a few big international celebrities.
- Li-Ning understand the potential buying power behind China’s 2nd, 3rd, and 4th tier cities and sportswear sales in China are growing 30% per year.
- Li-Ning have been working with specialists like ex-Nike Research Director Ned Frederick and Designer Daniel Richard (Converse & Saucony).
- Li-Ning understand not only how to excite their domestic audience (see Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony) but also how to get noticed in foreign markets like the US (see latest ‘Customs Interrogation’ spot above).