Tuesday, September 21

Nike "Write the Future"

With American football season starting, I'm reminded of all the effort that goes into marketing a sports brand and its equipment. The field and television screen become battle grounds as brands fight for logo domination. But not all the action happens during the game anymore.

A colleague reminded me yesterday of what happened during this past summer's World Cup - marketing glory!

Adidas was the title sponsor, so that brand got all the action on the field and during all the telecasts. Very traditional move - tried and true.

Nike, however, stole the show, by using the digital space and by engaging fans in ways never done before. The brand skipped the "logo on sleeve" strategy and instead created a brand experience for its consumers. Score!

Nike created "Write the Future" which was an engaging campaign that started with short video clips on Facebook where players would talk about how their game would have been different had they done a play differently. Fans were all over it, and Facebook and Twitter followers seemingly doubled over night. The videos spread like wild fire, and eventually made their way into advertising. Social media driving traditional media!

Then fans were given the opportunity to "Write the Future" themselves by posting short little tweets directed to players to serve as motivation directly to them. The best of the best were chosen and displayed on an animated video screen across Johannesburg's largest building. True Nike style, as directed by the fans themselves.

The entire soccer community lite up! While Nike was not the official sponsor of The World Cup, they ended up getting all the attention. You can read a little bit about it here, where the Harvard Business Review covered the story.

This is a great example of not having to "own" a sport (aka spend big bucks being the title sponsor) in order to "own" a sport. And a great example of skipping the tried and true, and embracing digital media to play where your consumers are living their lives.

Great inspiration as we go into high football season and its marketing.

What's your experience? Jim

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