Nike vs. Adidas and the Competitive World of Design and Branding

Logos are important to any brand. They are the first visual representation of a brand that people see when they are surfing online for products, comparing products, or even watching a sports event on TV. When people see a logo, they immediately think about the aspects of that brand. These images that come to mind originate from a variety of sources, such as former ad campaigns, products they purchased from the company in the past, and the types of people who wear or use them.

The Celebrity Factor

If a famous person wears or displays your logo, this power is even more critical to the success of a brand. Imagine seeing a famous actress, singer, or politician wearing a particular brand of sports jacket or shoes. What kind of impact will that have on a brand’s reputation?

Testimonial advertising is a type of advertising that used a celebrity to advertise a product. This technique was used a great deal of the time in the 1970’s and 80’s. Some people became so engaged in the fact that their favorite celebrity was using the product that, when they found out some of them didn’t, they threw their product away! So powerful is the association between celebrity and product use, that some people will use a product simply because one of their favorite celebrities is a fan of that product. Wearing a logo on one’s person is similar to a walking testimony of loyalty to a brand. This is also why we are seeing a dramatic rise in the world of celebrity blogging.

Some recent events have occurred regarding logos that have made the news lately. These incidents make it even more obvious that people put a lot of stock in a logo, and they will make buying decisions often based solely on whether one of their favorite people uses the product or brand.

The Big Cover-Up

For example, Nike is sponsoring the U.S. Men’s Olympic team in 2016. In a recent promotional photo shoot, at least three players seem to be a bit awkward in their stance. In this picture taken on Twitter and Jordan for a recent national photo to promote the 2016 Olympic games, two of the players are squatting off to the side, where most are sitting are standing. Upon closer investigation, you discover that they seem to be sporting a unique rainbow pattern of color on the tip of their shoes.

It’s My Party, and I’ll Cry if I Want To

Nike removed the logo of their primary competitor most likely because they do not want any other brand of shoes to show up in the photo, so they photoshopped the ones which are not advertising their brand. Apparently, this is not the first time this has happened. in 2008, the coach of the men’s basketball Olympic team placed his shoe in front of a player’s shoe that was sporting the “Adidas” logo.

Patriotism Trumps Free Ads for Competitors

Nike had gone to even greater lengths to defeat the competition (at least in the minds of viewers) when they draped American flags over the players’ jerseys that had the Reebok logo in 1992. Michael Jordan had explained the situation by stating that they had not wanted to deface the Reebok lo , but needed to cover it up since Nike sponsored the event. So they felt that draping the American flag over the logo was enough to cover up the problem.

Why All the Fuss About a Logo?

Why did Adidas go to such lengths to cover up the competition’s logo? What was it in the logo of their competition that made them remove any trace of the alternate company’s presence? The reason is that a logo is presence!

The Logo and Brand Association

When someone sees a logo, they automatically see the brand in their mind. They may think back to some TV ad about the brand or recall a magazine ad about the other product that they remember. It might even influence their view of the company in some way. Nike sponsored the event, so they felt that they deserved total loyalty to their brand in the photos. After all, they were sponsoring the event, not the competition. Doesn’t it make sense that they would want exclusivity?

To learn more about why people love logo designs from brands like Nike and Adidas, be sure to check out this expert round up on favorite brand logos.

Entertainment Law: Hollywood Tactics

One interesting fact that goes along with this occurrence is that Hollywood has to remove any sign of a logo or branding in a movie or TV show that they air that is mass produced to a large audience. Why? Because it is influential. It gets a brand’s name out there and serves as a 5-second advertisement. And it’s free advertising, which violated entertainment law (or so people thought).

Is it Illegal to Display a Logo in Movies and TV?

Actually, it is not illegal to display a brand in media, so long as that logo is portrayed in a natural way. This article explains the specifics on why displaying a logo is not illegal in the film. But filmmakers often opt to cover it up because it is considered “free advertising.” Technically, if a logo is displayed in a movie or TV show, the company whose logo is displayed should have paid for the mention. Because a logo is advertising and it does bring the brand to mind when people think of the film. Even in cases where the logo is barely displayed long enough to make an impact, it could be considered subliminal advertising.

Back to the incident with Nike. Even though it is not illegal or unethical to show the opposing company’s logo, Nike had an understandable reason to cover up the logo of their primary competition’s shoes. After all, Nike does sponsor the event, as we mentioned before.

That being said, why is this so interesting to us when we speak about logos? What’s the point?

What’s in a name?

The point is that Nike, a worldwide multi-million dollar brand thought it important enough that their competitor’s logo was displayed, even in a brief photo shot, that they went to great lengths to remove it. This should underline the significance of a logo.

A logo, for all practical purposes, is synonymous with your brand. It is intertwined within your brand’s public appearance. People see it everywhere they go. So when it appears, it literally is an advertisement for your company’s products or services.

What Impression is Your Logo Making?

Now that we understand the importance of showing a brand logo, even for a few seconds, it is easy to see why your logo should be good. Look at your logo. What does is say about your brand? Does it look powerful or suggest anything special or could it use some sprucing up?

Creating Brand Evangelists

Showing your brand logo is one of the best ways you can get more business. Did you ever think about how your customers are silent brand evangelists for your brand simply because they are buying, using, or wearing your logo on their person, car, or property? Sometimes the problem is not with your company. It’s with your logo. Remember when people see your logo, that is your brand in their mind. So what is your logo saying to people about your company?

Tips for a Great Logo

Here are a few tips you could use when thinking about your brand and what your logo is saying about your company.

  • Make your brand stand out with dynamic colors.
  • Avoid odd or strange fonts or contrasts.
  • Consider universal standards on types of branding for your industry.
  • Dare to be different, but not annoying.

Is it time for a makeover?

If your logo is lacking in stage presence and you need some improvements with your logo, visit They are specialists in brand logo development, creation, and makeovers. They can analyze your brand’s logo, look at the color, size of the font, angles, everything that composes it, and make solid suggestions for your logo that will improve the way you are representing your brand to the world.