Nike says its 8% quarterly revenue rise shows its strategic refocus around marketing its core running, basketball and football categories has paid dividends. At the heart of this success have been the Flyknit running shoe and its blockbuster launch campaign for its HyperVenon boot.
Nike itself hail it as the ‘most successful boot launch in Nike history”
So what better time to review the Neymar-fronted, multi-platform and multi-phase HyperVenon campaign?
Replacing its Nike Total 90 series and dubbed as a brand new boot for the new breed of attack, both the functional and creative focus of the campaign is on attacking the goal with the ball moving forward
Therefore the campaign is fronted by the brand’s flagship forwards. Brazilian and new Barcelona signing Neymar spearheaded the work, with other supporting strikers featured including Wayne Rooney and Robert Lewandowski.
The initial launch phase of activity ran between May and September 2013, but work will continue to evolve through to the World Cup in Brazil.
Nike kicked off the campaign with a social media push to generate pre-launch buzz mark in May by leaking out the name and approaching launch through both its own social media channels and those of its selected brand ambassador strikers.
Players including Neymar, Rooney, Wellbeck, Parker and Lewandowski all aso posted to Twitter hinting that the countdown to launch was beginning.
This was timed to ensure Hypervenom generate more online buzz than rivals Adidas and Puma ahead of this summer’s Confederations Cup in Brazil.
The players tweeted that they had been sent boxes of the new boots that were timed to open on May 28th and online teaser films on YouTube also accompanied this 99-hour launch countdown process.
Initially Neymar appeared in an online teaser film receiving the secret package and Tweeting with the hashtag #HyperVenom.
Which racked up 900,000 plus YouTube views.
As the countdown reached zero, the hashtag’s changed to ‘#HypervenomUnboxed’ and triggered a series of synchronised marketing events led by a matching Neywmar box opening spot
Which itself has earned 2,650,000 plus views to date.
Other ‘product arrival/delivery’ trailers appeared in various markets, such as this Isco-led ad in Spain
and this ad in Australia
There were also graphics-led teasers based around the iconography of the new boot range
The Neymar-fronted launch event itself was held in Brazil as Nike aimed to further reaffirm its ties to Brazilian football ahead of next year’s World Cup.
The launch event came with an accompanying set of launch-event films
Which between them amplified the reach of the launch event to the tune of 100,000s people.
This also worked in parallel with a major global PR push. Senior Nike figures worked in tandem with key media titles on content that focused on the functional and design side of the new product.
High profile Nike executives such as VP of Nike Football Footwear Phil McCartney and VP Nike Design (Global Football Category) led an interview push focused on discussing elements such as the new NikeSkin all weather material, the three-year design and development process and the like.
This phase was accompanied with functional print ads and a set of original early design sketches which depict the emergence of the boot’s unique look, its different use of the traditional Nike Swoosh, a displaced logo, a skull and crossbones icon on the inner heel, coupled with clear spikes and a unique texture.
The Hypervenom made its on-pitch debut on 2 June when Neymar and Rooney wore them during an international friendly between Brazil and England. The boots then went on to be worn by other high-profile Nike stars at the Confederations Cup and through the new European football seasons as they kicked off later in the summer and early Autumn.
Early June also saw the roll out of the central, product-focused TV commercial, from Nike main agency Wieden + Kennedy Portland, which used snake graphics and iconography to get defenders quivering in fear.
This central retail phase also saw interactive Nike HyperVenom Pop-up Shops and Showrooms open in key cities (such as this example in Sydney, Australia).
In July Nike also rolled out additional elements to its product websites and seeded a series of online films connecting the boots to a set of country-specific star player ambassadors – such as this Robert Lewandowski example in Germany.
This phase also saw a PR push and collaborations with a set of media and publishing titles with behind-the-scenes style access to the personalised design and construction process of making the boots (in Italy) as they were customised for specific players.
An example of this in the UK saw the brand collaborate with the Daily Mail and feature players Manchester United Wayne Rooney and Danny Wellbeck.
By August the soccer strand of Nike’s website was showing short, online films which sandwiched footage of individual player skills wearing the boots between the central TV spot – such as this example from South Africa.
As the new season approached in August, further supporting work included Nike HyperVenom Knockout events in various key cities around the world.
This boot-specific tournament challenged amateur players who fancy themselves as one of the top attackers in their own cities to wear the new boots as they participated in a boot-led, two-player-per- team, amateur competition.
These usually included an appearance by one of the boots’ local player ambassadors working in tandem with football media titles – such as this UK example which features Manchester United Danny Wellbeck’s appearance and promotional work with SoccerBible at the HyperVenom London Knockout event.
The tournament winners received a Nike skull trophy from the professional ambassador and enjoyed a Nike Hypervenom iD session where they were able to customise their HyperVenom boots.
Other events rolled out around the world, such as an innovative strand in Asia from agency BBH Asia Pacific who created a world’s first ‘virtual meets reality’ football game for the Southeast Asia Hypervenom launch.
This revolutionary game sees the convergence of virtual projection mapping and playing with a physical football and led the campaign through the August retail launch.
Thus, at the Bangkok (Thailand) Parc Paragon launch, the ‘House of Deadly’ virtual stadium was set up for four days and allowed spectators to experience the game and the opportunity to trial the Hypervenom.
The 10x10x5m stadium, fitted with motion detection and interactive projection mapping, an advanced sound system and 3D effects created an illusion of a real football match with a deadly twist – it featured wild beasts as moving targets that must be defeated while dodging lasers beams.
Players had to dribble a football and hit the targets and avoid the lasers. Each received an accuracy and agility score in the form of a digital and physical personalised memento.
Other aspects of the global launch work included interesting “>interactive HyerpVenom ad campaign on Microsoft Xbox and variants of the boots available as player accessories in key football games such as FIFA 13
The campaign also featured the more usual outdoor and print work, segmented to feature country-specific boot ambassadors ranging from Neymar in Brazil and Isco in Spain, to Rooney in the UK and Lewandowski in Germany.
The ads featured the campaign tagline ‘A New Breed Of Attack’ and creative also used copy lines such as ‘The game has changed, Defenders are faster and stronger than ever before. It takes more than just speed and technique to dominate. You need to be deceptive. You need to be unpredictable. Because they can’t stop what they don’t know is coming.’
There were also pitch side static and LED perimeter board executions as grounds around the world for the new football season.
By September the campaign was evolving further, with a push for the high vis versions of the boot collections through initiatives such as its Nike Academy.
This phase spanned YouTube
This blockbuster campaign saw Nike look to steal a march on Adidas and Puma who had yet to start such heavy, multi-platform and multi-phase promotion of their latest flagship boot ranges.
More phases look set to roll out as the season progresses and football moves towards its showpiece World Cup pinnacle in Brazil in summer 2014.
Nike first announced its strategic decision to refocus more resources around its triple-sport core (basketball, running and football) was first made 18 months ago and with Hypervenom only now seems to be paying off on the bottom line.
Thus illustrating the length of the cyclic timeline such a strategy needs to roll out and start delivering.
But with its latest quarterly figures showing global revenue reaching $7bn in the three months to 31 August – with Western European market income up 11%.
Nike’s incoming President Trevor Edwards commented that the new strategy ‘offers a more centralised and consistent consumer experience’ and that ‘results in Western Europe demonstrate that our strategies are working’.
Driven by the Hypervenom campaign – its most successful boot launch in history.
Nike Hypervenom Website