The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

NIKE’s Biggest Fan Now Resides In Atlanta …
March 21, 2012, 3:49 am
Filed under: Comment

Remember a couple of days ago I wrote about the value of a truly passionate marketing director?

Remember how I said that when you meet someone who is a true fan of their brand – not just their executional process – greater things happen?

Remember how I linked this all to a cab driver I met in Atlanta a few weeks ago who told me was a mad Man Utd fan and that when I’d told my NIKE client, he gave me a signed Wayne Rooney shirt to give him?

What do you mean no?!


Well to remind you, read this.

Have you read it, because if not, none of what I’m about to write will make any sense – or should I say even less sense than normal.



So after my morning meeting, I organized to meet Mr Cabbie – real name Assefa, or ‘Abu’ for short – so he could take me on another magical mystery tour of Atlanta’s best and worst areas.

I don’t really understand why, but we really seemed to hit it off the last time [ie: the first time] we met, so I was happy that as soon as he picked me up, we got straight back into the rhythm of our conversation.

We chatted about what we’d been up to for the past couple of weeks.

We chatted about what had been going on in the World the past couple of weeks.

We chatted about what had been going on in America the past couple of weeks.

And finally, we chatted about the football that had been going on in the past couple of weeks.

Slowly I brought the conversation around to his love of Man Utd.

Slowly I brought the conversation around to his love of Wayne Rooney.

Slowly I brought the conversation around to my NIKE client.

Slowly I brought the conversation around to me having a signed Rooney shirt for him.

I’d love to say when he heard this, he screeched his cab to a halt but that’s not what happened.

There was a pause.

To be honest, I wasn’t sure he’d heard me but then he pulled the cab over to the side and turned his head back to face me.

“Are you kidding me?”

“Nope …” I replied, as I pulled out the package from my bag and handed it over to him.

He took it, sat back in his seat and just looked down at it.

“This is a real Wayne Rooney shirt?”

“Yes.” I said.

“Autographed by him?”

“Yes.” I said again.

“You stupid, lovely, kind man, I cannot believe it. This is one of the best things that has ever happened to me.”

To which he undid his seat belt, turned around and gave me a massive, massive, massive hug before shaking my hand – while shaking his head – and muttering, “My family will never believe this.”

So thank you to Simon at NIKE who made this all possible.

He’s not only made a man in Atlanta a NIKE fan for life, he’s let me feel a real privilege in playing a small part in making it happen.

And Assefa refused to let me pay for my cab ride.


So next time you wonder if your client is truly passionate about their brand, tell them this story and if they don’t say, “Good on them” or “That’s cool”, then start giving their name to headhunter companies because trust me, you’ll be doing both of yourselves a favour.

55 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Great shot 🙂

Comment by Andrea

Brilliant Rob. Nike might have made it possible, but you were the instigator. Classic you.

Comment by Pete

not before playing with the guy’s emotions.. slowly.. slowly..

evil fucking sweet bastard…

Comment by niko

He had to work for it so I felt I was even more wonderful in giving it to him. Isn’t that how all charity works?

Comment by Rob

You get a cabbie a soccer jersey and you wouldn’t even get me a fucking drink.

Comment by Billy Whizz

I liked him more.

Comment by Rob

So do I.

Comment by Billy Whizz

You’ll both never forget that.

Comment by Ciaran McCabe

neither will you.. Rob won’t let you..

Comment by niko

Thanks. Thanks a lot.

True though … ha.

Comment by Rob

Simon from Nike.. we endure Rob’s posts, daily.

how’s about Maria Sharapova’s number?

Comment by niko

And her sisters. If she has a sister. If she hasn’t, her mum will do.

Comment by Billy Whizz

Yes she would Billy. Yes she would.

Comment by Rob

Oh sweet lord

Comment by northern

1. I had an awesome meeting this morning.
2. I made an Atlanta cabbies dream come true.
3. Forest are currently beating Leeds 7-3. SEVEN!!!!

Seminal Day.

Comment by Rob

It won’t last. Thankfully.

Good work with the jersey, but then you need the karma points.

Comment by DH

Good work by Nike. Excellent work by you Robert.

Comment by Lee Hill

I like Assefa, he still called you stupid.

Comment by John

And it’s not about being passionate about your brand, it’s about being passionate about your customers.

Comment by John

And your brand.

Comment by George

Well yes, but I’d suggest a brand is nothing without customers and brand focus is all too often introspective.

Comment by John

True John. But a brand that continually bends to the whim of their customers without maintaining their own point of view isn’t a brand worth hanging out with.

Comment by George

Play nice gentlemen.

And if you can’t do that, then let me know so I can start selling some tickets.

Comment by Rob

No argument with that. You choose your customers by being true to what you stand for.

Comment by John

As Andy is on ‘father duty’ allow me to put some words in his mouth. “GET A ROOM”.

Comment by Rob

But don’t consumers own brands these days?

Comment by northern

Great story Robert.

Comment by George

It wasn’t bad, was it.

Comment by Rob

A great gesture by nike and a typically kind gesture from you. Really brilliant Rob. What a shame the tweet I saw from you today about our iPad wasn’t so generous. I’ll deal with that another day. Most likely when you want something from me.

Comment by Bazza

Bang goes your iPhone 5 and your ipad 6 Rob.

Andy will be cock a hoop and so am I.

Comment by DH

Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

Comment by Billy Whizz

All that effort to earn some good karma points Rob and an anti apple tweet fucks it all up.
I admire you for that even if I still think you’re a fool.

Comment by Billy Whizz

He’s still a humble servant to the brand Billy, he’s not gone AWOL. He wouldn’t dare. He couldn’t dare.

Comment by Bazza

You’re not that special, he feels that way about queen and birkenstocks as well.

Comment by Billy Whizz

Good point Billy. Andy would be proud.

Comment by DH

How long does it take before a new kid stops being interesting?

Comment by Billy Whizz

Don’t worry Billy, he’ll be back. You know he won’t let Rob get away with his planning talk for long.

Comment by DH

Thank fuck.

Comment by Billy Whizz


Comment by niko

it might look a nice fucking gesture, it might make some of the fuckwits who visit this blog think youre a decent bloke, but the rest of us know you only did it to try and buy a friend because youre nothing more than a sad bastard planning parasite who people cross the road to avoid.

have you missed me? of course you fucking have.

and yes im typing this in the middle of the fucking night because my beautiful daughter needed to see her hero dad. want to make something fucking of it?

i dont want any rooney fucking shirt, get me one of his fucking paychecks in my fucking name. do that and ill like nike forfuckingever.

Comment by andy@cynic

Take away the insults and the swearing and it is quite apparent that you have quickly settled into the role of doting father.

It’s very pleasing to witness Andrew, but there was never any doubt that would be the case. Good man.

Comment by Lee Hill

What Lee said. And Billy.

It’s kind-of weird without you. That is not necessarily a bad thing or a compliment so don’t get too excited about that comment – though that doesn’t matter because you won’t see this comment until Bonnie decides to ruin your sleep again. So basically 24 hours.

Boom. Tish.

Comment by Rob

Excellent, you’re a big softie Dad.

But if you think night feeds make you a hero think again.

Just wait until the first incident of projectile vomiting. That seperates the Dad’s from the boys (and the wives)

Comment by northern

Excellent, you’re a big softie Dad.

But if you think night feeds make you a hero think again.

Just wait until the first incident of projectile vomiting. That seperates the Dad’s from the boys (and the wives)

Comment by northern

To be fair, Andy is used to vomit, he worked in the ad industry for 20 years and for 6 of those, he had to endure being a partner to 2 planners … though why I am defending him is beyond me.

Comment by Rob

He hasn’t lost it.

Comment by Billy Whizz

Ignore the above it was in reply to Andy, but while I’m here, excellent stuff

Comment by northern

I’m sure you’ll agree it’s almost as excellent as the 3-7 score line at Elland Road last night. Not that I’m smug about it. Me? Never.

Comment by Rob

Don’t despair NP, I have 18 hours in the company of United Airlines with their “unique take on in-flight service” so you get the last laugh.

Comment by Rob

You deserve your rare moment in the sun, you’ve waited long enough

Comment by northern

I like to think last night’s Leeds result was a karmic re-alignment after this gesture. Especially if the Forest players were wearing nike boots.

This is a story to share lots of times.

Comment by Andy Replacement Service

It’s Umbro, admittedly owned by Nike

Comment by northern

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