It hasn’t been the least controversial run-in to an Olympic Games, but the world still awaits!
That’s the athletic world, the TV sports fans and also those in the business of sport waiting to see how brands activate around the games.
Top marks so far go to Nike, surprise, surprise!
Whilst Nike are an ‘Official Supplier’ to the games, they clearly don’t have the rights to activate based on their designation alone. They do, however, have a bank of superstar athletes who can cut through any sporting noise.. there’s always an audience for Lebron, Serena, Neymar et al.
While this latest piece for #UnlimitedFuture doesn’t break any huge new ground by using a famous actor to deliver a rousing speech to unsuspecting future sports stars, there are some really smart elements to it that brands and rights holders can learn from.
ACTIVATE WITHOUT RIGHTS… BUT AT THE RIGHT TIME.
The broad family of sport has it’s time in the spotlight this summer and fans and consumers alike are open to sporting messages RIGHT NOW. Nike know this and are happy to share their view of sport and it's athletes without an ‘official’ Olympic message.
Choosing the right time to share your message, whether you are a brand or a sports organisation, is key to connecting with your audience. A bandwagon can be a good thing!
USE YOUR STARS… EVEN WHEN THEY'RE NOT THERE.
'Athlete availability' - the straw that broke the camels back for many great sports marketing campaigns.
Clubs, events and sports organisations have access, if sometimes limited, to their stars. What Nike shows us is that you don’t need the athlete present to use their relevancy and reach. Baby superstars is just one way to tie your stars into a campaign… creative minds can think of many more!
THE RIGHT IDEA IS JUST AN IDEA.
Superstar shoots and movie-level production are time and money intensive parts of sports marketing, but on their own they don’t really work. In ‘Just Do It’, Nike have arguably the single most resonant brand tagline, they might never change it. On top of that, the ‘Unlimited Future’ idea is the glue that connects the brand the athletes, the production and the timing of this piece.
‘Unlimited Future' doesn’t sell products, but it sells aspiration, ambition, passion and lots of other good stuff that motivates and drives athletes, both professional and casual.
At the end of the day, Nike are one of the very best at what they do, and they invest in ideas, athletes and production on an ongoing basis. But they don’t own the game, and it’s right that we look closely at their approach to the marketing of sport.
Patrick Murphy is a director of Atomic Sport. Talk to him at Patrick@Atomic-Sport.com or @AtomicPat