User:Jeff Bedford/NikeHistory

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1950s: Origins, University of Oregon[edit]

Nike, originally known as Blue Ribbon Sports (BRS), was founded by University of Oregon track athlete Philip Knight and his coach, Bill Bowerman, who met each other in 1957?. Bowerman was known for developing several of the world's best distance and middle-distance runners. Unsatisfied with the quality of running shoes available in the U.S. at the time, he began to cobble custom-made shoes for his runners. Bowerman experimented extensively with the design and modification of running shoes, using lighter, more durable materials such as leather and nylon. Knight was one of the first to wear Bowerman's custom shoes when he ran under Bowerman from 1955-59?.

While earning his MBA at Stanford, Knight identified an unmet demand for affordable, high-quality athletic shoes in the U.S. market. Most sneakers produced in the U.S. during the 1960s were made by rubber companies which specialized in tire production but knew little about designing running shoes. German shoe companies such as Adidas produced superior products, but sold at a high markup when imported for sale to U.S. customers. Based on these conditions, Knight wrote a research paper for a small business class titled "Can Japanese Sports Shoes Do to German Sports Shoes What Japanese Cameras Have Done to German Cameras?" This paper outlined plans for a company that imported track shoes from Japan for distribution in the U.S., laying the groundwork for what would eventually become Nike, Inc.

1960s: BRS founding and company beginnings[edit]

Acting on the concept proposed in Knight's paper proved to be difficult at first, as initial attempts at forging a partnership with a Japanese manufacturer were fruitless. After graduating from Stanford in 1962, Knight traveled to Japan where he identified the Onitsuka Tiger Company (now ASICS) in Kobe, Japan as being "the best hope for US exports." In 1963 he made contact with Onitsuka by cold calling the company and was able to secure a meeting where he arranged to become the first U.S. distributor of its running shoes. Onitsuka only sold wrestling shoes in the U.S. at the time, but had a new line of flat running shoes and track spikes in development that aligned with what Knight was seeking, so he ordered 12 pairs of samples for evaluation.

When the shipment of sample Tiger shoes arrived in the U.S., Knight showed them to Bowerman, offering to sell them at-cost to his former coach. Seeing potential in the sample shoes, Bowerman proposed that they become business partners. When Knight had discussed distribution plans with Onitsuka Tiger executives, he conceived the name "Blue Ribbon Sports" to satisfy their expectation that he represented an established company, but this firm was only hypothetical at the time. Knight and Bowerman officially established Blue Ribbon Sports (BRS) in January 1964, invested $500 each in the newly-formed partnership, and placed their first order of 300 pairs of running shoes from Onitsuka Tiger. Knight focused on sales, selling most of the shoes at track meets out of his automobile, while Bowerman worked on modifying the shoes and testing these new designs on his runners at the University of Oregon. BRS began to grow, but the two co-founders were both still employed at their respective full-time jobs, so in 1965 they hired Jeff Johnson as the company's first full-time employee. Johnson expanded distribution and sales during the mid- and late-1960s by creating BRS' first catalogs and promotional materials, starting a mail-order program, and opening its first retail store in Santa Monica, California.

1968, Cortez shoe, designed by Bowerman, sold well.

Company sold 1,300 pairs of running shoes in 1964, revenue = $8,000.

The next year, 1965, sales = $20,000.

Main sources: Bowerman and the men of Oregon (book)

International Directory of Company Histories, vol. company history

1970s: Transition to Nike, Swoosh[edit]

By 1971, the relationship between BRS and Onitsuka Tiger was nearing an end. BRS prepared to launch its own line of footwear, which would bear the Swoosh newly designed by Carolyn Davidson.[1] The Swoosh was first used by Nike on June 18, 1971, and was registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on January 22, 1974.[2]

xBy 1971, Knight and Bowerman had changed the company's brand name to Nike. This was named after the goddess of victory according to Greek mythology. But it did not stop there. That same year, the "SWOOSH" logo was created by Caroline Davidson, who was another one of Knight's students. The wings represents the wings of the goddess Nike. She handed Knight the design and she was paid $35. The SWOOSH was introduced, in the spring of 1972

1980s: International growth and the Jordan era[edit]

By 1980, Nike had attained a 50% market share in the U.S. athletic shoe market, and the company went public in December of that year.[3]

Wieden+Kennedy agency co-founder Dan Wieden coined the now-famous slogan "Just Do It" for a 1988 Nike ad campaign, which was chosen byAdvertising Age as one of the top five ad slogans of the 20th century and enshrined in the Smithsonian Institution.[4] Walt Stack was featured in Nike's first "Just Do It" advertisement, which debuted on July 1, 1988.[5]



1990s: yy[edit]

In 1990, Nike moved into its eight-building World Headquarters campus in Beaverton, Oregon.[6]


2000–2010: yy[edit]



2010–present: Technology, Divestitures, and x[edit]




  1. ^ "Logos that became legends: Icons from the world of advertising". The Independent. London. 2008-01-04. Retrieved 2010-02-11. 
  2. ^ "Registration Number 72414177". TESS. U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Retrieved February 11, 2010. 
  3. ^ "Company Overview : History : 1970s". Nikebiz. Retrieved 2010-03-04. 
  4. ^ "Company Overview : History : 1970s". Nikebiz. Retrieved 2010-03-04. 
  5. ^ "Nike's 'Just Do It' slogan celebrates 20 years | Oregon Business News". Retrieved 2010-03-04. 
  6. ^ Brettman, Allan (February 2, 2013). "As Nike looks to expand, it already has a 22-building empire". The Oregonian. Retrieved 2013-02-06. The first phase of the Nike World Headquarters campus opened in 1990 and included eight buildings. Now, there are 22 buildings.