One of the main benefits of being a university student (apart from the obvious $112,800 down payment for a pretty piece of paper with a stamp on (yay international fees)) is the abundance of resources and scholarly documents that are provided to the student body.
Last semester I studied a course entitled Advertising & Promotions, in which I learned about exactly what the title dictates, advertising techniques and promotional methods. I instantly fell in love with the subject due to its in-depth analysis of a number of campaigns, explorative self-guided research aspects, and that a lot of the course involved sitting in the dark watching TV adverts, a personal favourite past-time.
The subject involved developing an advertising campaign to improve a firm’s social media presence and raise awareness for a new project they were releasing. This part I loved. However, the final examination was based around a case study on the world’s leading retailer in sporting goods: Nike. This part I did not like so much.
Here’s a brief overview of Nike’s She Runs The Night Campaign. Nike was losing their share of the market of professional female runners to competitors that prided themselves as running specialists, namely, Asics. Nike proceeded to identify that the untapped section of the target market that they had not catered towards was “young females who took their running seriously” and identified that “running appeared to be an individual pursuit, dominated by men”. Thus they birthed the idea of She Runs The Night. Nike utilised a plethora of techniques including:
- Physical running communities – created for authenticity,
- digital communities – necessary to match young female social behaviours,
- mobile interactivity – essential given high usage by runners, and
- advertising – placed in female worlds, not running worlds, shattering the male-dominated norms.
All of these techniques lead to one final large event where approximately 3,200 runners raced over 13km, with over 50,000 women involved with the event. The execution of the event was a success. Nike became thousands of consumers’, particularly women’s, evoked set when it came to running shoes, all the while taking a large leap forward to raising awareness about safety while running at night. The number of techniques adopted allowed Nike to reach the widest base of potential customers possible, all the while expanding their own brand name further and further into peoples evoked sets.
A full breakdown of the campaign be seen here:
While I do agree that Nike’s motifs behind the campaign were warranted and justified, the company failed to stick to their own strategy. They identified that they needed to target young women who took their running seriously, thus they hosted a “13km fun-run”. They also identified that running was an individual pursuit, so they invited 3,200 people to individually pursue one another and established group running communities so that these community members can be individual in unison (sounds like something out of a George Orwell novel, more equal than others, amiright?).
If Nike really wished to target towards individual runners, why not established a series of ‘Nike Certified’ safe running routes that are routinely monitored by law enforcement or security guards? If they then wanted to create an event out of it, why not host a competition to see who could run said tracks as quick as possible, with results posted online and an incentive of free Nike products?
Alas, Nike did not and will not due to lack of financial return on their behalves. I am impressed with Nike’s stance to raise awareness about female safety concerns when late-night running, however the execution behind their campaign, in my eyes, was poor. Claiming to help serious runners with their individual pursuit by hosting a fun-run with a population of a small town seems misguided and irrelevant to me.
Verdict: Campaign idea: A+. Misguided event in order to shamelessly plug the brand D-.