One of my favorite things about sneakers is the advertising and marketing, second only to the people involved with and connected to sneakers. Reminiscing about Sneaker Ads recently I started thinking back to some of the earliest sneaker commercials I could recall. While there are others that pre-date the Nike Revolution commercial, none had such an impact on my young and impressionable
soul sole. I was about a decade old when it came out and was already an MJ fanboy. I don’t think I was allowed to be a John McEnroe fan, that guy was crazy and cussed up a storm. But more so than anything, I was a Beatles fan. My dad and uncle had instilled that in me from before I could remember.
The buzz around the commercial itself was beyond anything sneakers had seen before. Revolution essentially put Wieden & Kennedy on the map and solidified a longterm partnership between W+K and Nike. Wieden & Kennedy reportedly spent $500,000 just for the rights to the song, which was split between the record companies and Michel Jackson, who had purchased the rights to The Beatles catalog in 1985. Apple Records, The Beatles label sued and the entire circus show became, what I would say, the reason that (at least in sneakers) any publicity is good publicity.
Of course, contrary to the “Nike Air” craze of modern day, Nike Air was a status symbol amongst kids my age even before it became “visible” in the Nike Air Max of 1987. If you had Nike Air, you were cool. Plain and simple. Maybe things don’t really change over the years because just like today, Nike Air is a status symbol and watching Nike’s “Revolution” commercial still makes me want to lace up a pair of OG Air Max 1s.
Nick Engvall is a sneaker enthusiast with over 15 years of experience in the footwear business. He has written for publications such as Complex, Sole Collector, and Sneaker News, helped companies like Eastbay, Finish Line, Foot Locker, StockX, and Stadium Goods better connect with their consumers, has an addiction to burritos and Sour Patch Kids, and owns way too many shoes for his own good.