Nike’s Early London 2012 Ambush ‘Makes It Count’


Is Nike outmanoeuvring rival and official sponsor adidas when it comes to which brand is most associated with London 2012?


Online buzz research from Engine digital agency Jam says that it is.


Its findings suggest that Nike is well ahead of its great competitor when it comes to online conversations about the Olympics. With 7.7% of social media 2012 Games mentions linking to Nike and just 0.9% linking to adidas.


This suggests that adidas £100m investment in its official London 2012 rights and related activation needs to step up a gear or two.


What is it Nike is doing to feature so strongly across Olympic cyber chat? Almost certainly it is the brand’s new campaign – ‘Make It Count’. This may be an integrated initiative that spans multiple media platforms, but it is spearheaded online – particularly through social media.


The work is led by several big name UK athletes who are set to feature heavily in the London 2012 headlines this year. All of whom, of course, are Nike brand ambassadors. They include super stars like Mark Cavendish and Mo Farah.




The campaign, which avoid overt ambush accusations at this stage by spanning multiple sports including those not overly associated with the Olympics such as football, thus far has focused on their most intense training moments and kicked off in the New Year with each one using Twitter to make personal pledges for 2012.


These were followed by a series of seeded online films building on the theme, and supporting above-the-line work.


The campaign revolves around a core insight (and Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman quote) that connects with anyone and everyone – “If you have a body, you are an athlete”.


Effectively this campaign tagline acts as a call-to-action for everyone to get involved and make their own pledge.


This public-involvement idea extends from thee social media facets of the campaign to the in-store elements. Indeed, in the host city Nike shop on Oxford Circus customers can make their own handwritten pledges and then be professional photographed with them. These images and the pledges are displayed around the stores and of course shared via social media.


And this is only the beginning of the Portland –based brand’s Olympic ambush work.


Nike has already rolled out the low level launch phase for its new FuelBand cyber-physical training and tracking device. Fuelband is in part an answer to adidas’ miCoach and F50 cell connected products – both allow both consumers and professionals to collect, analyse, share, compare and improve performance.


As London 2012 draws ever nearer, expect Nike to connect FuelBand and make It Count into a fully-fledged Olympic Ambush.




Things have moved on since Nike outdoor ambush of adidas’ Olympic partnership at the Atlanta games (which led to a severe tightening of Olympic host country legislation). But Nike just keeps finding new ways and future facing platforms that enable it to stay ahead of the legislators and rights owners.


Indeed, some reports suggest Nike is now spending less than 15% of its $2,4bn annual marketing budget on traditional media.


Furthermore, it again seems to be succeeding in tapping in using insights that really resonate and current socio-cultural trends to ensure its initiative’s are genuinely effective.


Transformative tracking, self improvement and social shareability are all contemporary trends that this campaign taps in to.







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