On the evening of June 28, the Kim congregation gathered in front of their screens was once again able to demonstrate their remarkable enthusiasm. “So incredible”, “So cool!!!”, “Yay Kimmie!” – 1.8 million likes to date. What had happened? Something big and touching. A little girl who had always accompanied her stepfather to the Olympic Games, breathed the Olympic spirit and wore Olympic T-shirts, this girl, now matured into a woman, had received a call from the National Olympic Committee: Was she ready to dress the brave US athletes in turn? Which was probably an incredible honor and overall a happy ending.
At least that’s how Kim Kardashian described it on Instagram. And even if you have known for a long time that everything that the grandmother of all influencers touches turns into gold without any problems, it should be noted that she has not yet had Olympic gold.
Skims, then. Shaping underwear, T-shirts and pajamas for Team USA. Kim Kardashian founded the label together with her business partner Jens Grede only two years ago, in April the market value was already 1.6 billion dollars. There are three possible explanations for this rapid success: the total digitization of marketing and sales; the diversity of the target group addressed (all ethnicities, all bodies), which is currently harmonising very nicely with the zeitgeist; and of course Kim himself, concentrated Insta star power with a quarter of a billion followers. Thanks to Skims, she can now join the ranks of Olympic outfitters, side by side with heavyweights such as Ralph Lauren (also USA), Lacoste (France), Armani (Italy) and Adidas (Germany). So everything could really be “Yay Kimmie!” – if this weren’t Tokyo and the unfortunate year 2021.
Until the Rio 2016 Games, the following narrative was still planned for Olympic outfitters: For an obscenely high sum ($100 million is not uncommon), you acquire the right to advertise with the five rings for four years and to put the best athletes in the country on the largest sports stage in the world in your stuff. When someone picks up gold, it tears the people in the stadium out of their seats and the nation at home moves in front of the TV takes to their hearts, the human subconscious attaches your brand to a place that is otherwise reserved for chocolate, sunsets and sex. In your balance sheet, this process is reflected a little later in the form of an obscenely high profit sum.
At the Tokyo 2021 Games, however, there will not only be no cheering people in the stadium, but there will also be no enthusiasm of the local population prescribed in the Olympic protocol. The newspaper Asahi Shimbun published a survey in May, according to which 83 percent of Tokyoites have no desire for the sports field in their city, 10,000 of the already found 80,000 volunteers have canceled their mission again. Even worse, there is a possibility that the Nations Party will become a superspreader event. The CEO of Japan’s largest internet bank Rakuten has publicly spoken of a “suicide squad”, local initiatives are calling for no more products from Olympic sponsors to be bought.
In other words, in the stupidest case, the collective subconscious could file the brands represented at the Olympics in a place that is otherwise reserved for raw food, visits to the dentist and Christmas with the in-laws. Not directly fatal, but somehow unpleasant. And that would of course be a problem.
Who is supposed to buy the stuff in the end if no one sees it?
Kantar’s market researchers have found that two-thirds of Americans are less likely to watch the Olympics if there are no spectators in the background. Marketing people may have broken out the sweat of fear at this message. Who is supposed to buy the stuff in the end if no one sees it? Kim Kardashian is at least fine in this respect: She can create her own public on Instagram at any time, including an order link to the Skims shop.
Everyone else may take comfort in the fact that even before Corona, Olympic fashion was not completely free of pitfalls. Ralph Lauren’s cardigans with stars-and-stripes patchwork for Sochi were blasphemed by the Independent, one feels reminded of a “Christmas sweater from the wardrobe of Bill Cosby”. The whole world laughed at Willy Bogner’s nylon blousons in bright blue and neon pink at the London Summer Games broken – they looked like ski jackets. And at the freestyle wrestling competition in Rio, a Mongolian athlete and his coach took off all their clothes except for their underpants after a controversial evaluation and threw them contemptuously at the feet of the court martial. The name of the unfortunate outfitter is not known.