Tapping Into Tradition

Week 4 Discussion 2 – Tapping Into Tradition

Due Dates and Participation Requirements

Learning Objectives Covered

  • LO 03.04 – Learn how marketers sustain famous brands for generations with emotional relationships with consumers

Career Relevancy

Brand relationships can become almost tribal, lasting for decades as people’s childhood memories turn into adult habits and connections. As a marketing strategist, you understand the power of nostalgia, shared experiences, and tradition in strengthening a brand. You will also know how brands can be tarnished when these traditions come in conflict with one another.

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Homerun was a superhero who saw the horrors of war firsthand fighting Nazis in France following the Normandy Invasion of 1944. He returned home with a message of peace: rules, not revenge. Settle differences at the ballpark. When Homerun retired his jersey, he passed his legacy onto his son, who continued to fight crime with a swing of his bat and snap of his glove. He always stayed above the fray of political disagreement, seeing the world through the simple metaphor of baseball instead.

The man standing in front of Julia today was the third-generation superhero to call himself Homerun. A pitching machine lobbed a ball toward him, and he swung with his ultimatium bat. The ball turned into a white blur and then was gone. Julia heard a sonic boom. She figured it would be orbiting the earth in a minute or two. Homerun noticed her and walked toward the dugout where she was standing.

“You look great,” she said. He had grown out a reddish-brown beard, shaved at his temples. His hair was still buzzed on the sides and back, but he let it grow out long and curly on top. He had buffed up, his muscles noticeably bulging under his uniform. When he smiled, his teeth gleamed in the sunlight.

“I feel great too,” he said. “Best thing I ever did was give up that tobacco habit. Stopped drinking Centropolis Light too.”

Julia had to admit losing the beer endorsement was a hit to Homerun’s business, but he had made it up with sponsors from a national fitness chain and a popular athletic wear company. A smartphone app, called Homerun AI, coached people on weight loss, fitness, and good sportsmanship in life. It recently reached a milestone of 10 million users. The app also lets users report crimes in progress, and Julia had gotten an IT company to write an algorithm that helped Homerun respond to the ones that would create the best publicity. For the first time in more than a year, he was polling ahead of Diamanta in terms of customer satisfaction.

The most surprising aspect of Homerun’s journey was the degree to which he had been embraced by young people. His themes of family, clean outdoor fun, nonviolence, and doing the right thing resonated today as well as they always have—and his story of breaking free from addiction created trust and authenticity, two important qualities Millennials and Generation Z look for in brand identification (Furlong, 2018).

Homerun’s manager, Jessie Clarke, walked up behind them. “You need to talk this guy out of something for me.”

“What’s up?” asked Julia.

Controversy Sells

Homerun smiled and looked down at his dusty cleats. “He’s talking about the school shooting thing. During the national anthem, I don’t want to put my hand over my heart. Instead, I want to put my hands together and bow my head in prayer. It’s my way of saying our country needs to do everything we can to end violence against children. Even I wouldn’t be able to get to a school shooting on time or swing fast enough to stop all those bullets.”

“People are going to think you’re being disrespectful to the flag.” Jessie’s mustache twitched nervously. “And you look like you’re praying for gun control. That’s not going to sit well with the Second Amendment folks. You’re going to be Colin Kaepernick all over again.”

Colin Kaepernick was a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers who began kneeling during the national anthem in protest of police brutality. The ensuing controversy drove him out of the National Football League. However, Nike built a marketing campaign around him with the tagline “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” Despite YouTube videos showing people burning their sneakers, Nike sales grew 36 percent in the following quarter (Wertz, 2018).

“It might be controversial with some of your fans—and believe me, you’re going to hear from them,” said Julia. “But the people buying your sportswear and downloading your app know you can be a patriot and seek to end gun violence at the same time. Our core customer values line up with Homerun’s deeply held personal values. And guess what? His dad and grandfather believed the same things too. He carries a bat, not an AK-47 for a reason.”

“I don’t know about this,” said Jessie. “I don’t want any bad publicity.”

“It’s publicity for a good cause. I guarantee you it will bring in more younger fans, and maybe even get your more established fans to think about an issue differently,” said Julia. “I think we should work up a concept and test it out.”

“I’m on board,” said Homerun.

“Okay, sure,” said Jessie reluctantly. “Nothing wrong with running it up the flagpole.


Furlong, H. (2018, July 11). Dove, Nike, Hershey’s among millennials’, Gen Z’s most trusted brands. Sustainable Brands. Retrieved on April 28, 2020. https://sustainablebrands.com/read/marketing-and-comms/dove-nike-hershey-s-among-millennials-gen-z-s-most-trusted-brands (Links to an external site.)

Wertz, J. (2018, September 30). Taking risks can benefit your brand: Nike’s Kaepernick campaign is a perfect example. Forbes. Retrieved on April 28, 2020. https://www.forbes.com/sites/jiawertz/2018/09/30/taking-risks-can-benefit-your-brand-nikes-kaepernick-campaign-is-a-perfect-example/#62b43e5845aa (Links to an external site.)


Nike created a controversial campaign for their brand using ex-NFL player Colin Kaepernick. Describe your response to the campaign. What does this campaign say about Nike as a brand and its customers?

For your citation, you might use articles that show how audiences respond differently based on their own demographics or beliefs.

For your peer response, you could explore how Kaepernick’s brand values interacted with those of the NFL and Nike.

Your initial and reply posts should work to develop a group understanding of this topic. Challenge each other. Build on each other. Always be respectful, but discuss topics thoroughly, and figure it out together.

Reply Requirements

You must submit:

  • 1 main post of 700+ words with 2 in-text citations and references (follow the Institution Writing Guidelines)
  • 2 follow-up posts (replies) of 50+ words

Responses can be addressed to both your initial thread and other threads but must be:

  • Your own words (no copy and paste)
  • Unique (no repeating something you already said)
  • Substantial in nature, which means there must be some meat to the reply, not something like: “Good job, Rasha, your post is excellent.” A substantial post will do one of the following:
    1. Extend the conversation deeper,
    2. Challenge the post being responded to, or
    3. Take the conversation on a career-relevant tangent

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