There WOULDN’T be a ‘President Obama’ if… (Part 1 – Opening Remarks)

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VIDEO: MJ TVC 25 Year Retrospective

It’s been 12 months since Barack Obama was elected as President of the United States.

For me, the ‘in office’ element of his Presidency is far less interesting than how he got there.

Sorry more to the point, who got him there.

It’s my belief that the marketing and positioning of Michael Jordan, arguably the greatest athlete of our generation, was one of the most significant elements in getting Obama elected.

In fact, I’d go as far to say that if Michael Jordan didn’t exist; neither would ‘President’ Obama.


Michael Jordan was the first African American to be adored by all of America, endorsed by all of America, and believed in by all of America. Michael was mass-ive.

Race, background, status, financial situation – it didn’t matter (nor should it) – Jordan embodied universal appeal and did what was never thought possible: He made all of America unite behind him.

People just wanted to ‘be like Mike’ (and still do).

Why is this significant to marketing and communications professionals?

It’s significant because his story is the ultimate case study. His carefully managed brand blazed a trail only a true pioneer could.

The commercials. The endorsements. The connection he had with the media. The sense of the dramatic. The humour. He had it all.

Where do we start then?

To answer this there’s only one place to start…at the start.

Brand Michael Jordan is like any good Hollywood movie, it keeps you on the edge of your seat, it twists, it turns and you experience the full gamut of emotions. But the star / lead character comes out on top. He pulls though. He does the amazing. He makes you believe.

Over the next weeks I’m going to track that story (and pull out the bits we can learn from).

My aim is simple: While I’ll happily acknowledging a million things contributed to there being a
‘President Obama’ (including the man himself), it is my argument that it was Air Jordan who cleared the runway for him.

Next post: Launching brand Jordan.

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