Sneaker Branding in 2018 was Nauseating
Ever since Dan Wieden coined the slogan ‘Just Do It’ for Nike’s ad executives back in 1988, the Swoosh have developed a neurotic obsession with the term. Three decades later, Nike are not only continuing to rinse the slogan, they have reached new heights of gratuitous branding that’s left most of us in a state of perpetual existential panic: Just Do What?
Nike’s quest to brand every inch of their sneakers has become part of a general trend in the sneaker industry more broadly in 2018. While most industries in the 21st century attempt to position themselves alongside the kind of trendy, millennial skepticism of capitalism, sneakers are running in the opposite direction; embracing logos and branding in such an extreme manner it resembles the high-capitalism on display during Ronald Reagan’s 1980s.
Prompted by Virgil Abloh’s deconstructionist ‘The Ten’ series, Nike have dropped designs this year not dissimilar to the maniacal manuscripts hammered out by Jack Torrance in The Shining. Landing in June, the Air Max 1 LX is symptomatic of this kind of demented repetition. Have Nike’s brains trust finally been driven mad by a slogan that can, hypothetically, justify any design decision?
But Nike’s not the only party guilty of nauseating branding in 2018.
Perhaps triggered by their own linguistically flawed slogan (‘impossible is nothing’) and the delirious rants delivered by their golden child in the Oval Office, adidas threw down three gargantuan stripes with the ‘Brand Pack’, a collection of four sneakers (ZX500, Sobakov, POD-S3.1 and EQT Mid ADV) that’s as good as inking adi on the skin.
Across the pond, Gucci inexplicably appropriated SEGA’s logo for the Rhyton eyesore, while Supreme became so disoriented by a Nike/NBA colab they decided to blitz the Air Force 1’s uppers with so many team logos the sneaker ended up looking like it belonged in a Times Square souvenir store.
How were all these designs signed off?
Three little words and syllables designed to shutdown any well-reasoned ‘if’, ‘but’ or ‘why’:
‘Just. Do. It.’