Nike – It's not just about Sports

by Jonathan Marshall

Global Brands like Nike often use their enormous reach and influence to educate people about issues like cancer, AIDS, global warming, and many others. Even though the Lance Armstrong Foundation has made huge strides in the fight against cancer, they would be much less recognizable and credible if Lance was not a Nike-sponsored athlete. Smaller organizations, groups and foundations simply cannot convey the sense of urgency for a cause that a mega-brand like Nike can. Nike is very involved in many organizations and causes outside of sports today, and their involvement is crucial for those organizations and causes to gain national and even international recognition, but it also polishes the Nike brand. Not everyone plays or enjoys sports, but everyone knows and recognizes Nike, and it’s been like that for years. Nike knows this, and while supporting foundations like Lance Armstrong’s is truly admirable, the support suddenly makes Nike appealing to us in a whole new and different way. Now I’m definitely not saying that their support is not genuine, but there is no disputing the fact that it evolves the brand outside of sports and allows them to be even more influential on a truly global level. When you achieve the brand recognition that Nike has, you can pretty much do anything you want, but deciding to innovate and raise awareness is definitely a win-win situation. Below, Eugene Kan from Hypebeast goes on to talk about Lance Armstrong and Nike uniting to launch STAGES, a global art show to raise funds and awareness for the fight against cancer. Check out some of the pictures from contributing artists such as Cai Guo-Qiang, Rosson Crow, Jules De Balincourt, Dzine, Shepard Fairey and many others.

Paris, (July 16, 2009) – To heighten global awareness of the cancer burden, Lance has teamed up with Nike to present “STAGES,” an art show that benefits The Lance Armstrong Foundation.

Engaging the creative community in the fight against cancer, “STAGES” exhibits over twenty original works of art in response to the devastating disease with a distinct focus on the subject of survivorship. The show features some of the world’s most accomplished and promising international artists, including Ed Ruscha, Cai-Guo Qiang, Richard Prince, Catherine Opie, KAWS, Eric White, José Parlá, Christopher Wool, Tom Sachs, Dzine, and Rosson Crow.

The show unites the worlds of art, philanthropy and sport in a unique celebration of human potential inspired by Lance and dedicated to the fight against cancer. “It will project hope, strength and commitment to millions and carry the LIVESTRONG Global Cancer Campaign all over the world. I am humbled by the effort and energy given by so many to bring STAGES to life.“ said Lance Armstrong.

Nike continues to be a long time supporter of both Lance Armstrong and the Lance Armstrong Foundation, creating the yellow wristband in 2004, which gave global visibility to the foundation. To date there are over 70 million bands that have been worn by supporters throughout the world.

“We’re taking the LIVESTRONG message, which is already in the global lexicon, and giving it a different type of energy and voice. At the same time we’re combining the fight against cancer with sports and art to create a larger community that is aware and engaged in the fight against cancer,” said Mark Parker, CEO & President, Nike Inc.

The show opens to the public on Friday, July 17th following a preview today for invited guests at the world renowned Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin in Paris. It will also travel to the United States this fall. All work is available for purchase with proceeds directly benefiting the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

Contributing Artists:
Cai Guo-Qiang, Rosson Crow, Jules De Balincourt, Dzine, Shepard Fairey, Andreas Gursky, KAWS, Geoff McFetridge,Yoshitomo Nara, Catherine Opie, José Parlá, Raymond Pettibon, Lari Pittman, Richard Prince, Ed Ruscha, Tom Sachs, Kenny Scharf, Eric White, Christopher Wool, Aaron Young