THE NUMBERS: Nike's U.S. ad budget is $790 million, and it has leveraged that spend to a position of almost unfathomable dominance in this market, which has continued throughout a recession that's been tough on pricy shoes. In September, for instance, Nike's three top brands -- Nike, Jordan and Converse -- grew 11%, while major competitors such as Adidas, Reebok and New Balance posted double-digit declines.
THE KEY LIEUTENANTS: Trevor Edwards, VP-global brand and category management, guides brand strategy and all brand-management functions in Nike's six major categories (running, basketball, sportswear, soccer, training and women's training) which account for 75% of company revenue. John Slusher, VP-global sports marketing, handles all of Nike's crucial athlete, team and sports federation relationships.
THE CHALLENGES: For all its ongoing domination in the U.S., Nike isn't immune to the larger economic malaise, which has ravaged the mall retailers that are central to its sales. Continuing to outperform competitors in that environment will require more Nike Plus-like product innovation and, given the company's coolness toward traditional advertising these days, continuing to deliver online content hits at a far-greater rate than competitors -- no easy task.
THE AGENCIES: Nike's primary global agency is Wieden & Kennedy, but it has added a number of smaller shops to its roster in recent years, including 72&Sunny, Olson and Anonimo. Interpublic's R/GA is its key digital partner.