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NKE: Building An Olympian - usgym nike

The XXX Olympics have been exhilarating to watch, make no mistake about it. It is currently beating out the 2008 Beijing Olympics with ease. It’s also the premier event to put advertising dollars to work and to generate buzz around new products. At the forefront of the marketing blitz is Nike (NKE).

With nearly every top notch/famous athlete that’s competing using Nike, there’s room for all sorts of marketing and advertising from Nike. We believe that two specific campaigns, both from Nike, are going to make a massive impact on the public.

NKE: Building An Olympian - nike VOLTbest

The first campaign is a bit on the subliminal side. If you’ve noticed - Hedgeye Retail Sector Head Brian McGough did during the first week of the games – nearly every team are wearing bright, neon green Nike shoes. Known as the Volt line of footwear, this is the shoe uses Nike’s new FlyKnit technology and go for about $150 a pair and everybody seems to love them. It didn’t hurt that Michael Phelps chose to wear them for his interview with Bob Costas on NBC this past Sunday. With Phelps’ massive size and contrasting black pant, you couldn’t help but stare at the shoes. See below for a screenshot.

NKE: Building An Olympian - michael phelps and bob costas

Speaking of Phelps, this brings us to our second marketing campaign that Nike uses: building an organic brand around an athlete.

Any company can throw some clothes and a check at an athlete, hope they perform and walk away. That’s simple and doesn’t resonate as much with its consumer base. What you need is something emotional and outstanding. Per Brian McGough:

The best brands will take the stories that inevitably rise from performance (in this case, the Olympic Games), and craft stories around key athletes to create an emotional connection to the consumer AFTER the fact. When Liu Xiang, the Michael Phelps of China (he won the gold medal on the 100m hurdles eight years ago in Athens – an unprecedented feat for the Chinese) dropped out of the race last minute due to injury on his home turf in 2008, Nike turned the disappointment upside down, and created a marketing message that made consumers sympathize with the rigors of training at such a high level for one’s country.”

The result? Running revenue accelerated in China. Building brands is important for business; how you do it is everything.