Category: Advertising Reviews

Nike Nearly Dropped Colin Kaepernick Before Embracing Him

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Nearly a month after Colin Kaepernick was revealed as the face of Nike’s groundbreaking new advertising campaign, the unveiling videohas garnered more than 80 million views on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

The ads have sent Kaepernick into a new realm of celebrity, quickly becoming among the most talked-about and successful campaigns in recent years. And they have allowed Nike, which has a history of provocative marketing campaigns, to capitalize on the so-called Resistance movement in a way it only recently realized it could.

They are also yet another vehicle for Kaepernick to raise his own profile as a sort of civil rights entrepreneur unlike anyone before has, certainly in sports. He has signed deals to write a book — which is set to be published next year and will be accompanied by a speaking tour — and to develop a comedy series.

But it almost didn’t happen. In the summer of 2017, a debate raged in Nike’s headquarters in Beaverton, Ore., over whether to cut loose the controversial, unemployed quarterback — and the company very nearly did, according to two individuals with knowledge of the discussions who requested anonymity because of nondisclosure agreements each has with Nike.

When the company did decide to embrace the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, it risked angering the National Football League, a Nike partner since 2012, but the company ultimately decided it was a risk worth taking, given the credibility the company would gain with the young, urban market it has long targeted.

Kaepernick ignited a national discourse in 2016 when he began kneeling during the playing of the national anthem before games to protest racism, social inequality and police brutality. He left the 49ers after the 2016 season and became a free agent, but executives throughout the N.F.L. considered him radioactive because of his on-field protests, which drew vocal criticism from President Trump, and no team signed him.

That left Nike’s sports marketing group flummoxed. There seemed to be little they could do with a lightning-rod professional football player who was not playing football.

Before the company severed ties with Kaepernick, though, its top communications executive persuaded his colleagues to reverse course because of the potential for negative publicity. Kaepernick would remain on Nike’s roster of sponsored athletes — though he was largely ignored for nearly a year.

Through interviews with current and former Nike employees, individuals close to Kaepernick, analysts and others involved with the ad campaign, a picture emerged of Nike’s about-face in which the company concluded that getting behind Kaepernick’s crusade, at the urging of its longtime advertising firm, made good business sense despite the risk of angering the N.F.L.

When the company did decide to embrace the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, it risked angering the National Football League, a Nike partner since 2012, but the company ultimately decided it was a risk worth taking, given the credibility the company would gain with the young, urban market it has long targeted.

Kaepernick ignited a national discourse in 2016 when he began kneeling during the playing of the national anthem before games to protest racism, social inequality and police brutality. He left the 49ers after the 2016 season and became a free agent, but executives throughout the N.F.L. considered him radioactive because of his on-field protests, which drew vocal criticism from President Trump, and no team signed him.

That left Nike’s sports marketing group flummoxed. There seemed to be little they could do with a lightning-rod professional football player who was not playing football.

Before the company severed ties with Kaepernick, though, its top communications executive persuaded his colleagues to reverse course because of the potential for negative publicity. Kaepernick would remain on Nike’s roster of sponsored athletes — though he was largely ignored for nearly a year.

Through interviews with current and former Nike employees, individuals close to Kaepernick, analysts and others involved with the ad campaign, a picture emerged of Nike’s about-face in which the company concluded that getting behind Kaepernick’s crusade, at the urging of its longtime advertising firm, made good business sense despite the risk of angering the N.F.L.
READ MORE:https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/26/sports/nike-colin-kaepernick.html

The iPhone XS and XS Max Review: Big Screens That Are a Delight to Use

Apple’s new smartphones start at $999 and $1,099, but their superb cameras and screens make them worth the high prices, our reviewer writes.

iphoneFor the past few years, I have been a naysayer on one feature of smartphones: their growing size. My position was unusual given the increasing prevalence of larger screen devices. The world’s top phone makers have all added more substantial glass screens to stretch from one edge of their smartphones to another, on the theory that people can better enjoy their apps and content on an ample display.

Apple helped seal the deal last week when it announced that its new phones this year — the iPhone XR, XS and XS Max — would have screens that measured between 5.8 inches and 6.5 inches diagonally, compared with 4.7 inches and 5.5 inches two years ago. In fact, the 6.5-inch screen on the iPhone XS Max is Apple’s biggest ever. (The original iPhone in 2007 started with a 3.5-inch screen.) I have been troubled by this trend. These devices spend a lot of time in your pocket and your hand, and there are often compromises in portability and comfort when the screens balloon in size. For those reasons, I never liked the Plus phones, the line of iPhones that Apple introduced in 2014 with 5.5-inch screens. They felt impossible to use with one hand and far too bulky in a pocket.

So it’s humbling to come to you now with another confession: The iPhone XS and the iPhone XS Max may be making me a convert to bigger smartphones.

READ MORE:https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/18/technology/personaltech/iphone-xs-max-review.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fpersonaltech

Companies and brands often attempt to avoid taking strong public positions out of fear of alienating customers, but Nike is running straight into the political fray.

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Four days before a new NFL season gets underway, Nike is throwing its weight behind one of the most polarizing figures in football, and America: former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Kaepernick will be one of the faces of Nike’s 30th anniversary commemoration of its iconic “Just Do It” slogan. The campaign will also feature athletes such as Serena Williams, NFL wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., and Shaquem Griffin, a rookie linebacker for the Seattle Seahawks whose left hand was amputated when he was a child.

Kaepernick tweeted out a photo from the campaign on Monday. Over a black-and-white picture of his face, a caption reads, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”

In backing Kaepernick, whom the company has sponsored since 2011, Nike is making a high-stakes gamble that its customers support his protest, or at least that enough of them do. The company is also betting its brand can withstand criticism from conservative corners, including the White House.

Kaepernick has not played in the NFL since the 2016 season. That year, he began kneeling during the national anthem to raise awareness about police brutality against African-Americans and other racial injustices. Dozens of other players also began joining Kaepernick, and he has grown into a symbol of dividing lines over race in America.

In 2017, he filed a grievance against the NFL, alleging the league conspired to keep him out because of his protests. An arbiter last week denied the NFL’s request to throw out the grievance, allowing the case to proceed to a trial.

The protests have divided the league, often pitting a conservative white owner base against the NFL’s mostly African-American players.

The owners voted in May to approve rules that would have required players to stand on the sideline during the anthem or or remain in the locker room. Teams would be fined if players did not stand during the anthem, and the rules allowed individual teams to set their own policies.

Those rules are on hold while the league and the players’ association negotiate.

Nike’s public support of Kaepernick also risks drawing the anger of President Donald Trump.

Trump and his allies have repeatedly seized on the issue. At a rally in Alabama last year, Trump said team owners should “get that son of a bitch off the field” if a player knelt in protest of injustice during the anthem. Vice President Mike Pence walked out of an Indianapolis Colts game after some players knelt.

“This is a very winning, strong issue for me,” Trump told Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones last year, according to a sworn deposition Jones gave in connection with Kaepernick’s lawsuit.

Nike declined to comment on whether it expected Trump to criticize the company or how it would respond if he did.

The company also drew fire from Fox Sports Radio host Clay Travis, who called the Kaepernick campaign “pathetic,” and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who tweeted, “I guess @Nike will now focus on making knee pads for NFL.”

But many users voiced support for the brand’s decision and mocked people who claimed to be destroying their Nike products in protest, suggesting they should donate them to charity instead.

Williams said she was “especially proud to be a part of the Nike family today.”

Outspoken sports journalist Jemele Hill argued that people shouldn’t be surprised by Nike’s decision based on its history.

“Nike became Nike because it was built on the idea of rebellion,” she wrote. “This is the same company that dealt w/ the NBA banning Air Jordans. They made [Michael] Jordan the face of the company at a time when black men were considered to be a huge risk as pitch men. They aren’t new to this.”

A Path to the Runway, Paved With Hardship

Screen Shot 2018-09-03 at 7.40.10 AMFor a long time, being online was where Aaron Philip felt most confident.

She began documenting her daily life on Tumblr when she was 11, writing about her love of anime and the experience of growing up in New York City with cerebral palsy. In those days, Aaron got online with a MacBook and a personal Wi-Fi hot spot at a homeless shelter in Manhattan, where she lived with her father after her medical bills became too expensive.

“I took to the internet to find community and build a space for myself where I could be loved and appreciated,” she said.

Despite her circumstances, Aaron projected a positive attitude online, once telling her followers: “Sometimes, it’s you who has to trigger your own happiness.”

Aaron, 17, now lives in an apartment in the Bronx. She doesn’t go anywhere without her iPad, which usually sits on a tray attached to her motorized wheelchair. She’s graduated from Tumblr to Twitter and Instagram, where she has become a champion of issues affecting gay, transgender and disabled youth.

Last fall, Aaron announced her ambition to become a model. “I bleached my hair, and I bought a new wardrobe with the intentions of going viral, which is crazy,” she said with a laugh.

Aaron’s confidence is no longer confined to the internet. To jump-start her modeling career, she used Instagram to send messages to fashion photographers and set up photo shoots, which landed her campaigns with brands such as ASOS and H&M. In July, she became the first black transgender model — and the first physically disabled model — to be signed to Elite Model Management.

The signing comes at a time when the fashion industry is starting to respond to decades of criticism for practices that made tall, thin, white women its standard for beauty.

Nearly 40 percent of the models at New York Fashion Week in February were models of color, up from 21 percent in 2015, according to an annual diversity report conducted by The Fashion Spot.

[For more coverage of race, sign up here to have our Race/Related newsletter delivered weekly to your inbox.]

IN STYLE: Exclusive Images: Halle Berry Behind-the-Scenes for New Revlon Commercial

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Come January 14, Revlon model and actress Halle Berry will be showing off the beauty brand’s newest eyeshadow palette in a commercial. Berry isn’t the only big name associated with the campaign; it was directed by Martin Campbell, who credits Casino Royale to his resume. The footage was shot in L.A. and features Revlon’s PhotoReady Primer + Shadow, which includes a lid-smoothing primer, three coordinating eyeshadows, and a shimmery top coat. The whole kit, complete with tips on how to wear the colors, launches this month at major drugstores and revlon.com for just $9.99. Since you won’t be able to see the ad for a couple of weeks, we got our hands on these exclusive photos of Berry behind-the-scenes. We know we’re supposed to be focusing on her eyes (which are done up in a lovely shade of lavender), but we can’t help also feeling envious for her voluminous ringlets, flawless skin, and toned shoulders. Here’s to getting started on those New Year’s resolutions, stat!

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Five Headphones That Bring Video Game Sound Alive

When it comes to new video game technology, graphics are usually the focus. That’s sure to be the case as the game industry gears up for the launches of Sony’s PlayStation 4 and Microsoft next Xbox for fall 2013. But a large part of any entertainment experience is sound. With video games, sound is especially important as surround technology can actually help players hear which direction enemies are coming from. There’s a reason pro gamers wear those headphones when they’re at eSports events and when they’re alone at home. Headphones fully immerse gamers in these virtual worlds. Below are five great ways to hear the best games of 2012 and beyond. These headphones are of various price points for any consumer, and they’re a small sampling of what’s out there in the tech world — but a sampling I’ve been able to test on my own.

Astro A50 Wireless Headset, Astro Gaming, $300 – Skullcandy’s gaming division, Astro Gaming, is a mainstay at eSports events and one of the most popular brands with gamers. The A50 Headset is its latest offering, and it comes with a complete package. Everything from the headphones stand, which looks like it’s out of a Terminator movie, to the Dolby 7.1 Surround Sound, is state-of-the-art. These are very comfortable headphones. And wireless is the way to go with any gaming gear these days. Everything you need for the ultimate gaming session is packed into this case, including three unique EQ modes for differentiating Hollywood movies like Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter from shooters like Borderlands 2. Recharging your headset is a snap, too. If you have the money, this is a sound investment.

Call of Duty: Black Ops II Ear Force Tango, Turtle Beach, $300 – With Treyarch’s Call of Duty: Black Ops II raking in over $1 billion, fans of Activision’s shooter can pick up a copy of these limited edition headphones. Part of a full line-up of licensed COD headphones, the Tango boasts Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound, which is delivered through Dual-Band 2.4/5GHz Wi-Fi so gamers can pinpoint the direction of every gunshot and footstep. Turtle Beach headphones are prominent on the eSports circuit around the globe, and for good reason. These wireless headphones come with specific audio presets and voice prompts from developer Treyarch, but they’re also fully customizable for gamers to get the perfect sound. Fans of COD will likely want to flaunt these, but Turtle Beach has an entire line of non-licensed headphones available, as well. Beats Executive, Beats by Dr. Dre, $300 – For those who are looking for a more professional look while gaming on the go or at home, these sleek matte silver and black Beats Executive headphones offer solid surround sound and decent noise cancellation. These comfortable headphones are great for long flights with PS Vita or tablet gaming at 30,000 feet or intense Halo 4 War Games battles at home. Since separating from Monster, Beats has done a great job of establishing itself as its own brand. That “b” is well known by most consumers these days. And these wireless headphones are a step in the right direction to provide a better option for more gamers out there – for music, gaming and other entertainment. One gripe is the use of AAA batteries (which last about 25 hours) instead of a rechargeable battery, but maybe next time. These headphones aren’t my first recommendation for gamers, but they worked fine on the games I tested them on (Assassin’s Creed III, Halo 4, NHL 13). Tracks HD Anthem; Sol Republic, $150 – Anyone who watched the Olympics saw Michael Phelps with Sol Republic headphones on outside of the pool. Phelps used this brand of headphones to prepare before each swimming event. A portion of the proceeds from sales of these new red, white and blue headphones, which feature V10 HD Sound Engines, will go to the Michael Phelps Foundation. The all-time Olympic record medalist is a huge gamer. You can see my interview with him here, talking about his Kinect for Xbox 360 game Push the Limit. These days he’s likely using these headphones for music and gaming, which is something you can do too. With the lower price point, these headphones offer solid sound for portable gaming. PDP Afterglow Wireless Universal Headset; PDP, $90 – I’ve always been a fan of TRON and these unlicensed, affordable wireless headphones look like they’re straight out of that movie/video game universe. They’re not for everyone, but for those on a budget, these headphones pack a lot of great sound (and cool neon lights) for the money. There are three audio modes to choose from: Pure Audio, Bass Boost and a surround sound- like Immersive Audio mode. With the lower price point, there’s no Dolby, and the sound here is noticeably less impressive than the more expensive headphones on this list. But for its budget price point, these headphones bring games to life for decent bursts of time in great fashion. They work with any gaming system or PC out there, as well. Battery life is about 10 hours.