Sign up FAST! Login

Olympics: Meet the Man Behind Nike's Neon-Shoe Ambush | News - Advertising Age

Stashed in: Brands!, Recommended Products!, Apple, Marketing!, Awesome, Olympics!, Couture, Olympics, Shoes!, Nike!

To save this post, select a stash from drop-down menu or type in a new one:

He's the man behind those shoes -- the beautifully crafted, incandescent kicks that whizzed by on the feet of 400 Olympic athletes, including USA's Ashton Eaton and Trey Hardee, Great Britain's Mo Farah and France's Renaud Lavillenie, enabling Nike to capture the Olympic gold in ambush marketing.

Martin Lotti

Mr. Lotti, 37, is Nike's global creative director for the Olympics -- an interesting title, since Nike wasn't an official London 2012 sponsor. An industrial designer by education, he has been at Nike for 15 years, adding the "Olympic" aspect to his title just two years ago, while the brand's preparations for the London games were already underway. His role is to focus on the Nike products that 3,000 Olympic athletes wear on and off the field, from design to deployment.


Mr. Lotti believes good Nike products have four elements: performance, emotion (a Team USA insignia over the heart, for example), environment (in keeping with the spirit of this being the first "green" games, the Flyknit is Nike's most sustainable shoe ever) and aesthetics.

"When I worked with [tennis player] Maria Sharapova, she told me that when she looks better, she plays better," said Mr. Lotti. "That's where the aesthetics comes in."

Thank you for the informative article about the guy behind the bright yellow shoes.

Remind me where the shoes are made, and by whom?

It's not children in sweatshops, I hope.

My American friend who grew up in China interned at a Nike factory. From his description, his working environment seemed similar to Foxconn, take that for what you will.

So Nike and Apple have a lot in common.

It seems so. Founded around the same time period. Known for innovative marketing tactics. High-priced brand. Similar production environment. Founder CEO.

Well, and neither of them is a top 20 Facebook brand despite the fanatical devotion of their consumers.

I guess Facebook likes aren't necessarily representative of brand power?

In some ways I think FB pages overkill and oversell product. I unfollowed Man of Steel because honestly wasn't interested in their updates of cast shots and fans posting pictures in superman costumes.

Sometimes, mystery is a good thing. :)

I take it you don't consider yourself to be fanatical?

Nope. In fact, I can't buy Nike shoes because my feet pronate, so I'm an Asics Gel Kayano guy. :)

Agreed about Facebook pages. They never have anything useful to say. They're like blogs but dumber.

Smart people who run in Nike shoes are ones who get them for free. :) My feet pronate too, I prefer shoes with close to no heels -- Nike Free or Merill Barefoot shoe. Used to rock Asics but after stress fracture and a few ankle sprains I unsubscribed to the running shoe pronation theories. That and reading Born to Run.

Yay for FB pages and edge rank. Willingly subjecting myself to commercials ha.

So have you ever tried the Vibram Five Fingers?

Yes! Have owned two pairs. In them I have played:






Never once had ankle problems even though I have flat feet that overpronate when running. Will never buy a traditional running shoe ever again.

I stopped using Vibrams because...I felt it was better to keep toes together with a wider front shoe (see: Merilll Barefoot) rather than separating toes. Toes in Vibrams don't have complete flexibility and so can be frustrating to bend them. Like a glove on your fingers that restrictions movement below the first knuckle.


So you moved from the Vibrams to Nike Free or Merill Barefoot or both?

I'm not a runner so it's more challenging to figure out what to do. :)


I was once a runner...not currently! :)

But yes, when my Vibrams fell apart after three years of heavy use I moved to Merills. Hiked Machu Picchu in them. Also besides sandals the only shoes I wear regularly.