Society for Case Research MBAA 2020

Experience level: 
Bradley W. Brooks, Gary E. Powell

Zion Williamson: Could Nike’s Dream Exposure Become a Nightmare

Leading sports apparel and shoe brands pay large sums of money to sponsor collegiate athletic teams in hopes of gaining significant exposure. Nike’s exposure from one of the year’s highest profile college basketball games turned into a high-profile product failure. One that immediately threatened the Nike brand value and the company’s market value. Within hours, negative social media mentions of Nike soared and Nike stock dropped. Nike faced a decision as how, or if, to respond to the threat. The critical incident demonstrates the interactions between an organization’s marketing and finance functional areas by illustrating how a high-profile product failure can affect not only brand equity but also market capitalization. As such, this incident is well suited for undergraduate courses in Strategic Management, Marketing Management, Branding, Corporate Finance, and Investment Analysis.