Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Poster Review: Nike's Charles Barkley Vs. Godzilla Ad Campaign

Charles Barkley Vs. Godzilla. That's right. Nike ran a very successful ad campaign featuring "Sir Charles" battling the infamous Godzilla, or is Charles the infamous one? Nonetheless, the campaign was entertaining and successful for both Charles and Nike. Nike utilized TV commercials, sneakers, hats, T-shirts and several posters you can find throughout this post to promote its sports apparel lines. Barkley may not have been the NBA's best player during his playing career, but he was easily one of the NBA's most outspoken and controversial stars. To this day, many basketball fans take what Charles has to say seriously as he is not afraid to speak his mind.

(Nike, "I am not a role model" TV Commercial)

Despite being a controversial figure, "Sir Charles" was one of Nike's most successful spokespersons, or more likely, it's because of that controversy that helped propel the off the court success of Charles and the Nike. If Michael Jordan was the seemingly clean cut corporate American spokesperson, then Barkley was his polar opposite. He played the villain role for the NBA and Nike, and played it well.

Charles was one of my favorite players during his career, and is today one of my favorite TV personalities today as an NBA analyst for TNT. He had plenty of game and was certainly a factor in the NBA's resurgence during the late 80's and early 90's golden years. "The Mound Round of Rebound" averaged huge numbers over his sixteen year career filling it up with 22.1 points/game, 11.7 rebounds/game and 3.9 assists/game. To go along with Charles' eleven NBA All-Star appearances, he was also the '93 NBA MVP. Barkley had a distinguished NBA career that also featured a trip to the '93 NBA Finals, two Olympic Gold Medals ('92 & '96), and a spot on the NBA's 50 at 50 Greatest Players list.

Aside from a great playing career, Barkley's poster career is pretty impressive as well. "The Battle of the Century" Nike poster is not your normal sports poster. Nike definitely had a little fun with this one. I really like the entire Godzilla campaign that Nike introduced in 1992. I don't think there's a better comparison for a player like Barkley who himself was a monster on the court.
There's no question that this was a great marketing campaign for the creative ad wizards over at Nike. Instead of shying away from a controversial and abrasive personality, Nike embraced Barkley and used his personality to its advantage. I should know. I bought a pair of the Nike Air Max CB 2's back in the day partially because of the innovative Barkley Vs. Godzilla campaign. It didn't hurt that Nike made quite a technologically sound and comfortable sneaker either. Here's the TV commercial that started the "Battle of the Century" campaign off.


  1. Awesome post! I love The Round Mound of Rebound!

    I love the "I'm not a role model" commercial... especially b/c I tell my students the same thing (about athletes being role models).

    I love those shoes... one of the greatest designs of all-time.

    I love the Godzilla vs. Barkley poster and commercial.

    One of your greatest posts! A lot of great information... thanks Charles.

  2. Thanks Mark. It was a lot of fun to write.

  3. I have 3 original Barkley vs godzilla posters brand new in package just transfered to frames!! Vibrant colors and no holes, rips or tares