Nike Teams With Graffiti Writer For Lance Armstrong Promotion


Crashing the swelling corporate graffiti party, Nike has teamed with graffiti writer, Futura, to create a series of symbols and icons that illustrate Lance Armstrong's personality and challenging life story. The images were then reproduced on Lance's Tour De France time trial bike. A website ties it all together and promotes Armstrong's new line called 10/2 which is the date that he was diagnosed with testicular cancer

Big, bad, biker Bucky comments, "With the rising popularity of bicycling and Lance himself, I think it's really cool that NIKE would hire an underground celeb like Futura to work on a project like this." And now, the comment section eagerly awaits the wrath of graffiti purists.

UPDATE: Futura offers his own take in the comment section.

by Steve Hall    Jul- 5-05   Click to Comment   
Topic: Promotions   

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Nike's pretty late to this tired graffiti game. How'd they lose their lead in the last few years? They're finally following after everyone else.

Posted by: Corinne on July 5, 2005 11:41 AM

Just to be clear, FUTURA definitely has roots in graffiti but has risen to become one of the world's best designers/image makers. His one website has never been altered since launch and is a work of art in itself:

And his new site is equally as impressive:

Also NIKE has been doing collabs with FUTURA for over 5 years maybe more.

My key insight was that it's cool that FUTURA was chosen to design such an important project.


Posted by: bucky on July 5, 2005 12:03 PM

The Lance-Futura team up is a great example of Nike's strength as a design house. In true Independence Day fashion Nike brought together the US's top cyclist and a great American artist to create an interesting, relevant product.

A nice rebound from Nike's recent reappropriation of Minor Threat cover art for a skateboarding promo poster.

Why aren't other companies marketing to urban demographics(Scion comes to mind) using graffiti artist in their interface designs? It seems much more useful than hiring them to paint billboards.

Posted by: Trey on July 5, 2005 12:28 PM

Scion is attempting to market to urban demographics, but is succesfully selling cars to middle age families of foreigners who view it as a sensible, well priced automobile. They totally missed the mark with all of their futile marketing attempts. Who is going to read "Scion" magazine? Lord.

Posted by: Scott on July 5, 2005 1:20 PM

Is this supposed to make me want to consume more Nike product?

Cause it's sure not working...

Posted by: Lisa on July 5, 2005 1:55 PM

"Scion is attempting to market to urban demographics, but is succesfully selling cars to middle age families of foreigners who view it as a sensible, well priced automobile. They totally missed the mark with all of their futile marketing attempts. Who is going to read "Scion" magazine? Lord."

Um. You knew about the Scion Magazine, right? So it served its purpose.

Scion has the lowest demographic in the entire auto industry and RAISED their profit expectations by 25% last year for their fourth quarter. Whatever they are doing- it's working.

Posted by: a35mmlife on July 6, 2005 4:18 PM

It's working, at least for this 43 year old designer.

Now I am just trying to figure out what one word I am going to use for my name....with Futura taken I may go for Bodoni.

Posted by: Greg Needham on July 7, 2005 8:01 AM

if I could offer one critique it would be that the [media] always sells the stereotype. unfortunately I once again find myself in the dilemma of the misunderstood or misinterperted. calling me a graffiti artist today, is a disservice to graffiti artist's today. and given the history, the evolution, the volume&diversity of my work; AND the transition to something short of a miracle in this recent collab is beyond the life expectancy of most. the personal irony is that it has taken almost 50 years to arrive at this location.

Posted by: futuradosmil on July 9, 2005 6:55 PM

which got me thinking. although I may be one of the most famous alumni from a very particular school of art. I haven't done any illegal work in 25 years. hmm. seems as if street credibility gains interest. but I am not interested. I would rather be recognized as a productive individual, a parent and a professional. and not exploited with labels by those who choose to mininize and diminish. I'm not even comfortable with the term "artist" it just sounds so pretentious. damn. I hate that ball and chain around my leg; and I will never be defined by the opinions of others.

Posted by: futuradosmil on July 9, 2005 7:25 PM

From a design aspect its an amazing collaboration , and hats off to all involved. On a another note, what most people don't know is that Futura has been an avid cyclist for over 25 years and has followed the tour long before his involvment with NIKE...lead _follow_or get out of the way!

Posted by: stash on July 9, 2005 8:25 PM

The symbolic meaning of events, objects, dates and locales represented in the FLance iconography project communicate this [mere] "graffiti writer's" understanding of the man, the myth, the sport, the adversity. The fact that these icons were fashioned in the mind after a face to face meeting speaks volumes. This is not a speakeasy. Being blind to the facts is no excuse for pop talk. And NIKE losing their lead? NIKE being late to the game? I could RSS ad industry blogs all I want to generate some understanding of whats going on. But only if I wanted to be late to the game myself. There is a world beyond corporations, beyond advertising, beyond agencys, beyond creative. And this collaboration seems as if it sprouted form its virgin soil. Hunter or Gatherer? Both will consume. Just slide me the hot sauce. Props all around...

Posted by: SLY on July 10, 2005 3:38 AM

I guess knowing a little about Futura takes the shock value of the project away...but its surely long overdue, a sign of the times and a glimpse into tommorrow! magnifique!

Posted by: Dr. Zulu on July 10, 2005 8:12 AM

is there any more info? all i can find is one flash-based picture of the time trial bike. there doesn't seem to be anything that explains what the 26 symbols are, or how they're related to the final 40 symbols used. what do they all look like? what do they mean? why extend from 26 to 40?

the whole deal seems kind of weak. like it was only for the process - getting someone credible involved - and not the result. or is that the whole point? the result is that there's a name? how does the name feel about that?

or is the result the merchandising? i don't see any icons there.

where's the art?

ps something is broken/unspecified in your css. i'm typing this in light grey on light blue and can see fuck all - keep having to jump to preview and back to edit the thing.

Posted by: andrew cooke on July 10, 2005 1:31 PM

'wow!' i thought, when i heard one of my favourite artists had collaborated with nike. how disappointed i was. futura said he'd 'rather not (be) exploited with labels by those who choose to mininize and diminish'.

'those' are usually companies like nike, usually the quickest to jump on any bandwagon they think will reinforce their brand.

Posted by: inspiration on July 12, 2005 8:14 AM

Dondi would have been proud of you Lenny, you two love bikes.

Posted by: mike on July 23, 2005 12:55 AM

Hear and speak without even trying to do research is what I'm seeing here. Futura's relationship with Nike goes back years. goto or nikecycling to READ before you speak.

Posted by: Sushi Fatlace on July 24, 2005 3:07 PM

We never said this was the first time Nike and Futura have worked together.

Posted by: Steve Hall on July 24, 2005 9:08 PM

I don't mind the gimmicky bike. What bugs me is watching Lance's toddler daughter climbing all over him after he won Stage 20 yesterday--with the word "NIKE" emblazoned on the butt of her pants.

Posted by: Montana on July 25, 2005 12:49 AM

You can see Nike's latest Lance Armstrong commercial here:

Posted by: Chris on July 28, 2005 11:26 AM