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I’m getting worried about Nike.

I’m getting worried about Nike.

A little holiday shopping led to this observation: There’s too much Nike at Nordstrom’s (hey I don’t spend all my time at Walmart).

While Julie tried on shoes it occurred to me that Nike is proving that it is possible to over-emphasize the new. They are competing as a fashion brand, and letting that agenda cloud their core message. C’mon, what do frilly purple boots and UGG knock-offs have to do with “Just Do It”?

Fashion is Nike’s differentiator in a field of athletic wear, but function has always come first. The function is the promise. Once upon a time a waffle-iron inspired a brilliant innovation: a better tread for better performance. A brand was born. It was a beacon. But when fashion eclipses function, the message just gets foggy, and a recession will punish foggy brands.

Do they have the DNA to become a fashion house? Can they build it or buy it? If not, they should throw out the fuzzy boots and get back to making moves that fit the focus of the brand (like this idea).

Nike means victory – on the athletic field, not the runway.

Disclosure: no positions

Full disclosure: Julie bought the UGGs.

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