Airing it Out: A Conversation with former NIKE Historian, Scott Reames

For three decades, NIKE Historian Scott Reames (retired) had a front row seat to witness the explosive growth of the biggest brand in sports, as the company rocketed in revenue from $3 billion to $44.5 billion.  With the April release of the star-studded Ben Affleck film, “Air,” which chronicles the story about the creation of the iconic Air Jordan, we were pleased to welcome Scott Reames to Hothouse as a special guest for a “virtual” fireside chat.    

Scott shared how he came into his unusual role as the company’s Historian, the creation of NIKE DNA (Department of Nike Archives) and some of the great marketing stories behind the brand – from the first ever Nike shoe, to the failures that made the brand more resilient, the legendary client/agency relationship with Wieden+Kennedy that inspired the “Just Do It” campaign and much more! 

And of course, Scott shared his key lessons for what marketers and brands can learn from NIKE’s successes to inspire their own future growth ambitions.

“You must have the ability and belief that risks are acceptable.”
-Scott Reames
Highlights from This Episode:
  • How Scott conceived and pitched the idea of Brand Historian to senior leadership at NIKE
  • The NIKE origin story, and how Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight set the foundation of a legendary partnership
  • Waffle iron – myth or fact?
  • Phil Knight – legendary business leader and a fearless, calculated risk-taker
  • How the culture has (and hasn’t) changed from the early days of NIKE to today
  • The special relationship between NIKE and Wieden+Kennedy
  • Scott gives us some insight into the “Bo Knows” campaign that ran from 1989-90
  • Scott’s thoughts on the movie “Air” – what it gets right and what it doesn’t
  • We hear some of the teachable moments from NIKE’s history and how we can apply those to the future of growing brands

About Hothouse’s Business Leader Series:  

In an age where content and channels exceed human attention capacity, marketers must battle for the attention of consumers every day. At Hothouse, we believe engagement must be earned and cultivated into long-term loyalty to make a true impact. Hothouse is bringing this belief to life by hosting a variety of leaders, influencers and change agents about their personal journeys and how they address the challenges of today while setting the stage for tomorrow.