Thursday, August 21, 2008

Li Ning Marketing Coup: Classic Brains over Brawn

Via the Olympics, here’s a great case study into how a company with a much smaller marketing budget can upstage a rival.

Li Ning, a former Olympic medalist who owns the sportswear company that bears his name, did so to Adidas in the opening ceremonies last week in Beijing. Maybe you saw it: Li was the guy who “ran” around the top edge of the stadium and lit the torch.

Some are calling it the ultimate ambush marketing. Adidas paid the big money to be the sole sportswear sponsor, and then Li snuck in and grabbed the spotlight basically for free.

The prospect of taking on competitors the world over can seem pretty overwhelming for smaller to midsize companies. You have to work hard to be more creative. More consistent. More cost-effective. More with less.

But the Li story just goes to show that, even if you don’t have the marketing muscle of the competition, brains can beat brawn on the world stage.

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