When Oregon Ducks Quack, The Football World Listens

Sportswriter, Michael Kruse, writing in Grantland, argues that the Oregon Ducks are “college sports’ undisputed champions of the 21st century’s attention economy.”

The football Ducks of Oregon are something new. They didn’t get people to watch because they got good. They got good because they got people to watch.

“If attention is now at the center of the economy rather than stuff, then so is style,” UCLA professor Richard Lanham wrote in The Economics of Attention: Style and Substance in the Age of Information. “It moves from the periphery to the center. Style and substance trade places.

“Push style to the extreme,” Lanham wrote, “and it becomes substance.”

A good bit of Kruse’s piece focuses on the team’s Nike uniforms, which speak loudly and proudly for and about the team, school and state.

As a resident of Oregon, I can’t help but marvel at the bright flash provided by Nike, and note how counter to the grain it is for this state. Oregonians are not an “in your face” bunch. But Nike is, and thanks to Nike, U of O athletics is.

The Ducks open the 2011 season on Saturday against LSU Tigers. The game will be played at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, TX. Kickoff is 5:00 pm PST.

Previously on AdPulp: The Ducks Are Quacking A Little Louder These Days and Spotlight On NW Creative: Ducks Reveal Their New “Deep In The Woods” Basketball Court

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. Kruse is spot on about Oregon football. They don’t have the tradition of an Alabama, Penn State or USC, but yet are competing with and beating these teams thanks to the hype around their program. And a big part of their differentiation is their uniforms, as well as its alliance with Nike.

  2. Sorry, I don’t buy it. I crack the Duck’s success up to Manchester, New Hampshire native Chip Kelly:the 2009 and 2010 Pac-10 Coach of the Year, 2010 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year, 2010 Walter Camp Coach of the Year, 2010 Sporting News Coach of the Year and 2010 Associated Press Coach of the Year, and widely regarded as one of the most innovative offensive minds in college football today. 

    • Tom,

      All due respect to Coach K. He’s the man, for sure. But the investment from Phil Knight and Nike predates Kelly by more than a decade.

      Oregon is a top five team now, and Kelly is a major part of that, but the groundwork was put in place by other men.

      Go Ducks.