November 10, 2009
To meet the demands of the modern gladiator-athlete and its stockholders' insatiable appetite for a steadily rising bottom line, Nike is rolling out a coordinated marketing blitz over the next three weeks wherein 10 teams will unveil one-time-only "Pro Combat" uniforms. Regular NFL viewers may recognize this line as the same one ex-Oklahoma and current Minnesota Vikings star Adrian Peterson shills for in that one commercial where his skin is unexplainably scaly; the goal for the college product (other than shipping out more merchandise for sale) is to "address the evolution of the game," meaning four-way stretch twills, high-tenacity yarn, dual-density foam cells and a generally lighter, sleeker getup, the better to turn one's body into a concussion-seeking missile.
A few of the new threads have leaked out already, including Florida State's black helmets and Ohio State's "throwback" ensemble for the Buckeyes' trip to Ann Arbor in two weeks; the very alert blog Friends of the Program has the rest of the lineup today, including (above, left to right) Florida, LSU -- yes: gold helmets, Tiger fans -- Missouri and Miami, and (not pictured, because they are rather lame all-white looks) Virginia Tech, Oklahoma and Texas. Nike's gone out of its way to provide crazy, team-specific gloves (right) with each school's logo on the palms and its very special slogan on the wrists -- Missouri gets the best of this touch, with "Beast Mode," as opposed to "We Are Texas."
Hey, at least "We Are Texas" beats "We Are Subverting Our Unique Historic Brand To Become Yet Another Marketing Arm of an Omnipresent Corporate Hegemon." Soon, they might need the school's name on the gloves just to tell the difference.
Remember also that Under Armour clients Maryland and South Carolina will be swathed in camo-themed duds for a veterans' charity this weekend, too -- and the Terps will be facing off with Virginia Tech and its "Pro Combat" motif in a faux militarist showdown. May the best marketing plan win!