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Pop business for the intelligent reader. A publication from Medium.

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What Marker readers have to say about the marketing tactics that make it near impossible to buy limited-release Nikes

Nike’s SNKRS app — the marketplace for the company’s limited-edition releases—has gained notoriety on social media among sneaker fans for creating bottlenecks and making it virtually impossible for customers to check out and snag a pair. Earlier this month, “Michael Jordan’s son Marcus released a limited-edition version of his dad’s Air Jordan I ‘Freeze Out’ sneaker that hardly any actual consumer was able to purchase,” writes David Dennis, Jr., senior writer for LEVEL and author of the forthcoming book, The Movement Made Us.

Dennis, who has repeatedly tried to purchase sneakers via the SNKRS app (to no avail) has likened…


The Nike sneaker-buying experience has been brutal for years. When will fans get too fed up to keep supporting the brand?

The demise of Blockbuster Video lives in my head rent-free. It’s the perfect parable about America’s brand of capitalism and what happens when people are given a choice that frees them from greed. Sort of.

Blockbuster thrived in the late ’80s and early ’90s because it scaled explosively, opening new stores and buying out competitors; in many places, it was the only way people could watch new movies that were just out of theaters. It leveraged its near-monopoly in predatory ways, charging people exorbitant late fees for movie rentals and even damaging people’s credit scores for not being able to…


The apparel giant has two big advantages over its digital fitness rivals: a massive product catalog and access to the world’s best athletes

The Nike Training Club (NTC) app screen is displayed on a phone, held up against the Nike swoosh logo.
The Nike Training Club (NTC) app screen is displayed on a phone, held up against the Nike swoosh logo.

From my first pair of Jordans to my favorite golf shirts, I’ve always worn Nike. While I know the gear doesn’t actually make me a better athlete, it always makes me feel like a better athlete.

Nike has a legion of devout customers just like me: professional and amateur athletes who draw inspiration from its ads to go back outside and get another hundred shots up, stalk the aisles of Niketown for the perfect training ensemble, and religiously sport its gear on the court.

In 2006, Nike created a membership program to reward and encourage this brand loyalty. Membership in…


That was Nike CEO John Donahoe’s bold claim on an earnings conference call way back in March when the pandemic first hit. As we wrote at the time, Nike’s Covid-19 “playbook” involved a hard pivot to digital sales and marketing, building on efforts that had been in the works for years. The company acknowledged taking a hit, but argued that its aggressive digital embrace minimized the pain in China, and could do so in other markets.

This week the company announced its latest quarterly results: $10.2 billion in revenue nearly matching last year’s. That’s a remarkable bounce back from the…


No Mercy No Malice

The battle to say something without saying anything has been fierce

I feel stronger when I wear Nike products. The company is also likely the best advertiser in modern business history. I know many of the people who work there, across many levels of management and at their agency, Wieden+Kennedy. They are sincere about making the world a better place through athletics and competition. Yesterday, I interviewed Nike board member, and my old boss, Dean Emeritus Peter Henry. The Portland firm’s most recent campaign was typical Nike, capturing the moment and unafraid to take risks. A twist on the iconic “Just Do It” campaign:

I believe this is a seminal moment…


Comfy pants have become the pandemic uniform—and Gap, Nike, and Champion are battling against indie brands

A collage of different sweatpants outfits from brands such as Nike, Asos, Urban Outfitters.
A collage of different sweatpants outfits from brands such as Nike, Asos, Urban Outfitters.

Three of the most viral online stories in the last month involved the only piece of apparel that’s more in demand now than face masks: sweatpants. In mid-April, Vogue editor-in-chief and Condé Nast artistic director Anna Wintour, who is rarely seen in anything but statement designer dresses, appeared on the glossy’s Instagram in a pair of loose red track pants. Gymnast Simone Biles posted her version of the handstand challenge, but instead of putting on a T-shirt while inverted, she removed a pair of sweats. …


Would Nike still be Nike if it had been named Dimension Six?

Editor’s Note: In this excerpt from his memoir Shoe Dog, the founder of Nike, Phil Knight, shares how Nike got its name and logo.

The year was 1971. My shoe company — at the time called Blue Ribbon — and Onitsuka, our longtime Japanese shoe supplier, were about to break up. I needed to find a replacement for Onitsuka.

I remembered a factory I’d heard about, in Guadalajara, the one where Adidas had manufactured shoes during the 1968 Olympics, allegedly to skirt Mexican tariffs. The shoes were good, as I recalled. …


Off Brand

Creatives have long been hyped as enlightened CEOs. So why is an ex-Bain consultant replacing a former designer to lead the famous cultural operator?

The streetwear and youth culture site Freshness, largely devoted to news of limited-edition sneakers and the latest from edgy brands like Supreme, doesn’t devote a lot of attention to the titans of corporate America.

But in 2011, it made an exception for Nike CEO Mark Parker, publishing a huge collection of photos of the “frenzied collection of art and shoes” cramming Parker’s office. …

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