I must confess, before I blog about Nike’s guerrilla greatness, that I am a huge fan of all things Nike. Not necessarily all the clothing, I’m not the type to walk about the streets in tracksuit bottoms and a hooded top, but certain aspects of the brand really appeal to me. The key aspect of all this is Nike’s advertising and marketing, which continually gets it spot on.
One prime example is the latest ‘must have’ gadget, the
Nike+ Fuelband, which I have bored the Yomego office about for months. I finally purchased one of the said bands last month in America, after falling victim to the sporting giants’ clever marketing – its use of reputable athletes, creation of one-of-a-kind events to over hype it, and then the stroke of genius - making it available in very limited outlets in the UK.
Nike+ range of products, which the Fuelband falls under, is one of the greatest social conversation generators for the brand. The fitness apps promote goal sharing and competition between friends, all on a public domain. This in turn is published to a user’s followers, which subsequently want to be a part of the action. From this, the cycle continues, and what better time for that to happen than now, during the pinnacle of sporting events?
Over the past few months we have been monitoring Nike closely. Although it isn’t an official Olympic sponsor, the brand attracts a huge number of mentions relating to the event. This comes much to the displeasure of its rival, Adidas. Roger Federer certainly won’t have helped much when he stepped out looking like a
real-life billboard for Nike at the first round of the tennis at Wimbledon.
Yet the ongoing furore around the sponsorship of the Olympics, not to mention the strict measures put in place by LOCOG, has led to non-sponsors taking interesting measures to gain exposure during the games. Some of you might have seen the
Paddy Power ad, sponsoring ‘the largest athletics event in London this year’. The London in question is in the French region of Burgundy. Sure enough the advert was banned, though LOCOG rapidly changed its mind when it faced public ridicule and the risk of even more publicity ( the famous Streisand Effect) if it carried on.
Nike entered the fray on Wednesday when it uploaded its latest ad; ‘Find Your Greatness’ on YouTube. Voiced by Tom Hardy, the short video concentrates on athletes from Londons around the world – not just the “chosen few” participating in London 2012. The campaign was released in 25 countries at the same time as the Opening Ceremony on Friday and is clearly an attempt to cash in on Olympic fever. It has already been viewed almost 4m times in just five days.
Nike isn’t a stranger to this kind of approach, with a track record in gatecrashing major sporting events with ambush marketing. Just look back at Beijing 2008, the 2010 World Cup and even the Euro 2012 ‘My Time is Now' campaign.
This Olympic attempt was perhaps more closely watched than previous campaigns (coming off the back of the
banned Twitter #MakeItCount campaign). Yet Nike states Find Your Greatness has been thoroughly vetted by Clearcast, the body responsible for ensuring ads don’t break the advertising code policed by ASA. Nike is also running a corresponding Twitter campaign, using the #findgreatness hashtag. Similar to #makeitcount and #GameOnWorld, it has already generated a high volume of conversation. Using Brandwatch, our data provider, we uncovered more than 20,000 tweets making a nod to “findgreatness” just five days after launch. Conversation began early on Wednesday, highlighting an immediate awareness of Nike’s ambush attempts, and continues steadily. Adidas is using the Olympics to springboard itself to become the number one sporting brand in the world, but one thing is for sure, Nike won’t go without a fight, sponsor or not.
Make sure you keep an eye-out for our upcoming Nike Brand Barometer piece with Marketing magazine which will be online this Friday. For some more history, take a look at our work with
Econsultancy and our previous Olympic spread in Marketing Magazine back in November. From Insight Executive Mark Stuart @MisterMumble #YomegoSocial