Nike’s Investing In Experiential. Big Time.

“We’re not in the business of keeping the media companies alive, we’re in the business of connecting with consumers.” – Trevor Edwards, Nike’s corporate vice president for global brand and category management
This is a great time to be in the marketing services business. The inverse is also true—it’s not such a great time to be in the TV commericals-making business.
Nike spent just 33 percent of its $678 million United States advertising budget on ads with television networks and other traditional media companies. That’s down from 55 percent 10 years ago, according to the New York Times.

Behind the shift is a fundamental change in Nike’s view of the role of advertising. No longer are ads primarily meant to grab a person’s attention while they’re trying to do something else — like reading an article. Nike executives say that much of the company’s future advertising spending will take the form of services for consumers, like workout advice, online communities and local sports competitions.
As consumers spend more time online, running their virtual lives and connecting with other people more through typing than talking, Nike executives contend that they also want more physical interaction with brands. Nike is running more events on the ground, like last year’s three-on-three soccer matches for youths in 37 countries and its San Francisco marathon for women.
Nike even calls the third floor of its New York store the “Nike Running Club.” There, runners can map out running routes, receive training advice and attend an evening speaker series — all free, even if they trot in wearing Adidas or Brooks sneakers.

Clearly this train left the station some time ago. Here’s hoping you’re already on board or waiting at the next station.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.