Language and Societies

ANT/LIN 5320 at Wayne State University

Metaphors in Branding and Design of Professional Basketball Players’ Shoes

Metaphors in Branding and Design of Professional Basketball Players’ Shoes

Craig Meiners

This paper seeks to understand the role of metaphors in the branding and design of professional basketball player’s shoes. Shoe design varies widely among basketball players and each design works to enhance the brand of the player though metaphors. An effective brand is one that directs its followers though storytelling but leaves the story unfinished for the consumers to finish the story with their own experiences with the brand and create connections. This paper works to understand how these metaphors are used in shoe design and their importance and relevance in building a brand. Looking at the most recent NBA All-Star game in Los Angeles, this paper evaluates the shoes of four of the top players in the world. These players all have their own signature shoe deal and released a new version of their shoe during the All-Star week. This paper evaluates the effectiveness of the design metaphors in the shoes, in building a brand. This is done though a discourse analysis of press releases and twitter comments about the shoes. Four main metaphors were identified (shoe as person, shoes as a place, shoes as performance, and shoes as activism) that are used to help drive the narrative of the player’s personal brand and ultimately that of the shoe company. In looking at the shoes through the identified metaphors, the shoes are evaluated on their effectiveness of building the brand. The shoes that used a consistent brand and design language seemed to build stronger connections among consumers.

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April 2, 2018 - Posted by | abstract

1 Comment »

  1. I never would have thought to think so hard about what messages basketball players shoes are meant to convey. I would only have thought that the players have shoe deals to make more money. I wonder what sort of results came from your analysis and to what extent the players are involved with the creation of their brand.

    Comment by Samantha Spolarich | April 23, 2018 | Reply


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