Li-Ning: Breaks Into America With Funny Commercial

Li-Ning USA

All hail Li-Ning, truly one of China’s greatest brand names. Li-Ning sportswear is extremely popular throughout China, and during  its rise to fame the brand even had the likes of Adidas and Nike worried.

Recently, the World Brand Laboratory published the “China’s 500 Most Valuable Brands” report, and attributed the Li-Ning brand with a value of 12.734 billion RMB.

Now China’s largest sportswear supplier is taking the plunge as it launches an attack on the two sportswear giants, Nike and Adidas in their biggest market – USA. Here is the advert:

The commercial features the hilarious comedy actors Gerry Bednob and Donnell Rawlings. I think it’s really funny, but some Chinese websites have stated that Chinese ex-pats living in the States will be grossly offended by the ad.

Personally, I find this is ridiculous as I am sure they will see the funny side of the commercial, as it clearly mocks the ignorance of many US citizens and their prejudice towards China. What do you think?

Despite its humour, Li-Ning’s advances will no doubt strike a little fear into American citizens. It may be seen as a metaphor for the growth of the Chinese economy, with Nike’s potentially pending market share decline representing the USA’s economic woes.

Li-Ning logo

Although in saying that, many Western readers have probably never heard of Li-Ning. Well, this Chinese sportswear supplier sponsors some pretty big sports stars including:

Baron Davis (Basketball)
Shaquille O’Neal (Basketball)
Jose Calderon (Basketball)
Hasheem Thabeet (Basketball)
Yelena Isinbaeva (Pole Vaulter)
Ivan Ljubicic (Tennis player)

In case you are interested, the firm also sponsors numerous Chinese olympic teams as well as the USA Table Tennis team.

To find out more about Li-Ning and its first steps into the American market check the US website at http://www.li-ningusa.com.

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  • Hm… Baron Davis is only name that stands out on that (given that Shaq has pretty much been burned out as a “sneaker model”).

    If this crew wants to “grow” an audience – then it would be better served to score a couple of supplier contracts at the NCAA level first.

  • krdr

    Li Ning changed logo? It is uglier than old one. I don’t find commercial funny, either.

    • Li-Ning changed its logo earlier this year as part of the ‘Make the change’ rebrand. Its aim was to target those born after 1990.

      It was definitely a bold move by the firm, but a necessary one to appeal to China’s future generation and of course help its efforts to go global.

      The fact is, the old logo looked too much like Nike’s logo, and its old slogan ‘Anything is possible’ was too similar to the Adidas slogan ‘Impossible is nothing’.

      The change wasn’t a gimmick, it had no choice but to…

      • krdr

        I am aware why they changed logo, but it should be more refined. It isn’t appealing to me. It looks unfinished, robust. It doesn’t have feel of speed or action. It is more sumo than basketball.

  • the brand also has Evan Turner, 2 Spanish La Liga sides, and the Argentina and Spanish national basketball teams under contract. The brand has been in the US for almost a year and has been pretty well known in the sneaker heads community for 2-3 years, though now its getting attention from a much larger community.

    To say Li Ning “had to” change its logo isn’t true at all and its strange that many of the shoes their selling overseas still contain the old logo (including those in the ad). Okay, the old logo kind of sort of looked like Nike, but the new one doesn’t do anything to step away from that look.

    As I mentioned in my blog about the commercial two days ago, the “make the change” slogan doesn’t really make sense in China, but in the US it works.

  • oscar

    Personally, I think selling sports shoes probably shouldn’t emphasize its nationality, right? People purchase them for it’s cool or it’s comfortable, Puma didn’t say “Hey Yankee, I’m come from Japan” Emphasize its nationality will arouse question to customers like “Am I buying a pair of Chinese shoes ? So I kindly support more jobs there?”

    • krdr

      Puma is from Germany

      • Oscar

        Personally, I think selling sports shoes probably shouldn’t emphasize its nationality, right? People purchase them for it’s cool or it’s comfortable, Puma didn’t say “Hey Yankee, I’m come from Japan” Emphasize its nationality will arouse question to customers like “Am I buying a pair of Chinese shoes ? So I kindly support more jobs there?”

        • Oscar

          i dun find this TVC funny and its bad taste!
          there is no insight at all. shame on the ad agency that did this TVC.
          or maybe the client did it themselves which is more scary!
          According to writer that LiNing rise to fame the brand even had the likes of Adidas and Nike worried. U must be joking!

      • C.

        And founded by the brother of the guy who founded Adidas.

  • jordan H

    i dun find this TVC funny and its bad taste!
    there is no insight at all. shame on the ad agency that did this TVC.
    or maybe the client did it themselves which is more scary!
    According to writer that LiNing rise to fame the brand even had the likes of Adidas and Nike worried. U must be joking!

  • Mad man

    This is awful.
    Unfunny shit.
    The writing is an embarrassment.
    It was not made by their advertising agency in China.
    I have friends there and they claim to have never seen this before.

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  • xmcx

    So you can sell these ‘lift-off’ in the US and no court will recognize that they look a tad like air jordan’s?

  • gregorylent

    will win the most-irritating-ad prize, for sure.

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  • Chinese Expat

    Funny? Yes.
    Offensive? No.

    By a Chinese Expat

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