Nike marks 20 years of making kits for FC Barcelona
Nike is marking 20 years of making kits for FC Barcelona, and has released a new video to celebrate the occasion.
The spot shows how the company get it when it comes to supporting a football club with as strong an identity as the La Liga leaders. Featuring stars past and present, from the men’s team and the women’s, and reflecting the city as well as the club and even producing it in Catalan rather than Spanish or English, the sportswear giant show they’ve been listening and learning and not just manufacturing blue and red, Blaugrana shirts.
The heritage is striking: from Johan Cruyff’s playing days through to the modern day, via Pep Guardiola, Carles Puyol and even Lionel Messi (whose name is on the back of a shirt in the clip, but whose absence – owing to his Adidas sponsorship – is otherwise notable).
Nike have reached a point where they can start to celebrate their own footballing heritage. For the last 20 years, they’ve been sponsoring Barcelona – who have a much longer history – but before that the US company hadn’t been overly interested in the sport, becoming active and making kits in the mid-90s, producing efforts for the likes of Paris Saint-Germain and Borussia Dortmund before really establishing themselves with Brazil kits starting in 1996, creating iconic World Cup kits for them in 1998, 2002 and beyond.
When one brand makes the kits for a team over such a long period of time that heritage begins to shine through, and there’s a body of work to explore. We’re now talking about an emotional sport which is able to reach people on social media and on-demand video, it goes beyond World Cup broadcasts or Champions League games where an audience outside of Spain sees Barcelona play only once or twice a season.
What’s in it for Nike – and other sportswear brands who make kits, too – is a brand recognition which goes further than just the one identity of a club they sponsor, though. By using the same designs with different colour schemes for different teams, fans who are paying attention can spot a Nike kit from just a glance without having to see a logo or even know exactly what team’s playing.
At the same time, though, that only goes so far. And as Nike are showing with their latest video celebrating their time making Barcelona kits, they get the club and its heritage and history. And Nike has one of its own now, too.
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