In 2008, Manny Pacquiao, boxing world champion in eight different weight divisions, arrived in Chicago to promote his fight against David Diaz. On his arrival, one of the first sights Pacquiao requested to see was the statue of Michael Jordan outside of the United Center.
Four years later, and with a few more world titles under his belt, Pacquiao is thrilled that following many months of deliberation and exhaustive planning between the principals of Creative Talent & Advisory Group, LLC (‘CTAG’), Pacquioa’s Filipino legal counsel, Franklin Gacal and a few of Pacquiao’s closest confidants, CTAG, on Pacquioa’s behalf is finally in advanced stages of talks with Nike, Inc. (‘Nike’) to facilitate moving all of Pacquiao’s future endorsement from “Nike’s Classic Swoosh” to Jordan Brands.
In describing some of the main reasons for Pacquiao’s desire to make the switch, Antony Gordon, President and Co-Founder of CTAG, who has been responsible for spearheading all of the ‘off-line’ discussions with Nike on behalf of Manny Pacquiao, noted that:
“… as I explained to one of the key decision makers who deals with global marketing and branding at Nike, it became clear to Manny several months ago that there was a cultural disconnect between his enormous Asian fan base who literally follow Manny’s every move on the one hand, and the generic cache’ Nike brand that is one of the most well recognized logos in the world. For Manny, the fact that the hundreds of fans who came to express their support for him after the Mosley fight were wearing Manny Pacquiao T-shirts and Jordan sneakers was more impactful than any ‘focus group’ could have been. Finally, the infatuation of sports fans in the Philippines and surrounding areas in Asia with basketball finally hit a ‘marketing tipping point’ when the local media began branding Pacquiao as the so-called ‘Michael Jordan of boxing ...”
For Pacquiao, the desire to forge a symbiotic marketing relationship with Michael Jordan and Jordan Brand goes even deeper. Suffice it to say, Pacquiao owns his own basketball team in the Philippines and, for some time has included basketball in his training routine.
From Jordan Brand’s perspective, while this would not be the first time they have endorsed a professional boxer - cases in point being Andre Ward and Roy Jones - the marketing potential of having one of the most beloved and talented athlete in the Western Hemisphere - in Michael Jordan - teaming up with arguably the most beloved and talented athlete in the Eastern Hemisphere in Manny Pacquiao is unprecedented, gives each of these sports icons a global reach that is clearly historical and, from a marketing perspective, creates a huge transcultural paradigm shift. From an economic perspective, since Jordan Brands is a subsidiary of Nike, the true beneficiaries of the proposed transition are really Nike and company’s shareholders.
Mr. Gordon, on behalf of CTAG and Pacquiao articulated his sincere kudos to Nike for the candor and tone of all communications to date as well as the general goodwill that has been cultivated by the key player at CTAG and Nike respectively which ultimately will surely inure to the benefit of their mutual client, Manny Pacquiao.
A spokesman for CTAG indicated that the appropriate protocol has followed at all times in order to ensure that the transfer to Jordan Brand would be effectuated in the most seamless manner, including complete transparency and full disclosure to the appropriate Nike representatives in the Philippines on the one hand, to ensuring that once the appropriate steps had been duly completed, that Manny Pacquiao would be given a warm welcome from ‘the highest possible echelons’ at Jordan Brand on the other hand.
It would be safe to say that the Manny Pacquiao - Michael Jordan combination surely takes the concept of a ‘global brand’ to an entire new level.