Brand in the News – Nike

Seb is Marketing Week’s agency specialist.

Nike defied expectations last week (22nd September) when it reported first-quarter profits that topped analysts’ estimates in nearly every market worldwide and hailed its ability to connect with consumers through promotions as key to maintaining demand amid an uncertain global economy.

‘Team Nike’, Nike’s triumvirate of advertising agencies, consisting of Wieden + Kennedy, AKQA and Mindshare, have been instrumental in maintaining the brand’s popularity with consumers over the years, and has seen them responsible for campaigns such as Nike Grid and more recently ‘Write the Future’.

The ‘Write the Future’ campaign, Nike’s much lauded integrated push around last year’s World Cup tournament, boosted the brand’s profile, despite the tournament being sponsored by rival Adidas.

The campaign, which was spearheaded by a three-minute film that launched online via Facebook and YouTube, trebled Nike’s Football Facebook Fans from 1.1 to 3.1 million and generated more than 12 million views in one day.


Lead by Wieden + Kennedy Amsterdam, with the support of both its London and Portland offices, as well as media network Mindshare, the film was about stimulating conversation around the tournament, which ultimately lead to a surge in overall orders for World Cup merchandise according to Wieden + Kennedy.

Mindshare, were responsible for Nike’s Football Facebook page which went on to generate over 1.9 online campaign impressions and over 40 million online views of the film.

Mindshare, who have been working with Nike since 2000, said the challenge was developing a social media strategy that was able to spark global conversation around the World Cup tournament, without the benefit of the brand being an official sponsor. The result was a campaign that recruited 17 fans every second on Facebook and helped contribute to global sales growth of 7% following the campaign, according to the agency.

Prior to ‘Write the Future’, Nike launched, Nike Grid, a real-time running game, developed by agencies Wieden + Kennedy London, AKQA and Mindshare, in London, last April.

Lasting only 24-hours, the location-based campaign involved payers running between BT phone boxes across the city, logging their run at each, while earning points for speed, endurance and stamina.

Registered players were issued with a code that allowed them to activate and log each run at the start and finish points. Runs were tracked via campaign site and a dedicated Facebook page.

In total, just under 3,000 runs were logged during the 24-hours the game officially ran, and Nike kept the Grid active until 13th May for additional players to participate.

The campaign’s success resulted in Mindshare winning the Leisure and Travel prize at last year’s Marketing Week Engage Awards.

The decision to stay lo-fi and abstain from making social media the focal part of the game, stemmed from the brand’s aim to make Nike Grid accessible to all, while grounding the creative in the real world.

The mash-up of old-school media, location-based marketing and a competition based community event, produced a motivating campaign – proof that the strongest creative ideas need not be dependent on technology.

With next year’s Olympics drawing closer, it will be interesting to see whether it’s TV, online or experiential, that Nike will turn to maximise the impact of its promotions in order to boost demand for its products and consequently hike up its profits.

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