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What ever happened to the great sneaker commercials?

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The resurgence of sneakers as a popular form of fashion and expression have spawned a new wave of marketing strategies, cannibalizing the thing that got many of us older sneaker lovers hooked…the commercials.

In the late ‘80s and early ‘90s Michael Jordan’s sneakers weren’t retros, but rather a signature line for what was becoming the greatest player to ever step foot on the court.  So Nike, being the great sneaker company that they are, created some of the coolest commercials; not just in the history of sneakers, but also in the history of TV.

It started with Jordan, but all of their top signature athletes like Penny Hardaway, Bo Jackson, Charles Barkley and Ken Griffey Jr. had great commercials to market their shoes.  Characters like Mars Blackmon, Johnny Kilroy and Little Penny became as cool as the athletes that they were intertwined with.  As a kid, these commercials were more riveting than the TV shows or games that the sneakers were being aired on.

But what do the kids today get?  Where are the great commercials for today’s signature athletes?  Where are the cool cartoonish characters to interact with LeBron James or Blake Griffin or Kevin Durant or Calvin Johnson?

It makes plenty of business sense though.  Commercials are expensive to produce and in the era of DVRs and On Demand, they’d get overlooked or fast-forwarded.  It’s not worth all the time and money when the shoes sell out fast and you can utilize and create demanded and hype-using platforms that didn’t exist 20, 15, 10, or even 5 years ago.

Don’t worry though, we got you.  If you’re an old head in this game like me, then you’ll enjoy the walk down memory lane.  If you’re a young sneaker lover or newbie, sit back and watch some of the most innovative commercials in the history of television, as I have attached a dozen of my favorite sneaker commercials.

Let us know what you think.


As always be sure to check out @TheDonDrew