The company is planning an epic global campaign titled "Courage," with 60- and 30-second spots to begin airing in the U.S. on Aug. 8, the day of the Olympic Summer Games' opening ceremonies, while a micro-site, nike.com/courage, goes live today. The spots will roll out around the world between July 19 and the start of the games. Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore., created the commercials.
For the push, 31 athletes from more than a dozen countries are immortalized in the midst of "Just Do It" moments. Michael Johnson's performance in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics is featured, as is Derek Redmond's appearance in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. There are also non-Olympic moments, including Lebron James' star turn in last year's NBA Finals.
Current Olympians being featured include Mr. James, Kobe Bryant and Liu Xiang of China. Other athletes include Roger Federer, Steve Prefontaine, John McEnroe, Wayne Rooney and Lance Armstrong. The Killers' "All These Things That I've Done" serves as the soundtrack.
"Clearly we're going to inspire the consumer with this campaign, which is really about celebrating probably one of the most inspirational brand statements of all time, 'Just Do It,'" said Joaquin Hidalgo, VP-global brand marketing at Nike. "And it's not only an ad. We're also allowing consumers to interact with the piece of communication."
At the "Courage" website, consumers will be able to explore each moment and post feedback, Mr. Hidalgo said.
Nike, which is not an official Olympic sponsor, is also outfitting 22 Chinese federations, the U.S. basketball team and U.S. track and field athletes, as well as athletes from 100 other countries. "This is probably a marquee moment for the brand, in terms of innovation around an Olympics," Mr. Hidalgo said, noting the creation of new "Swift" technologies and materials.
Finally, on Aug. 31, in between the Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games, Nike will host the Nike Plus Human Race. The 10k event will be hosted by the company in 25 physical locations, while consumers outside of the city can "Run Where You Are," using Nike Plus technology. The company expects 1 million runners around the world to participate.
"One of the most important things, in terms of why this marks our biggest-ever [program] around the Olympics, is the fact that we're enabling the consumer to experience the brand [through] Nike.com/courage but also ... through the Nike Plus Human Race," said Mr. Hidalgo.
Creating multipronged programs that incorporate experiential elements has become a hallmark of the company, as it pushes its agency partners to move beyond simply creating ads. In recent years, Nike has looked to broaden its roster beyond lead agency Wieden & Kennedy. In April 2007, the company tapped Crispin Porter & Bogusky to handle its running-shoe and Nike Plus business. But in May of this year, that relationship imploded, with Nike moving the business back to Wieden & Kennedy after just one TV ad.
Mr. Hidalgo said the company will continue to work with a variety of agencies. "We have a pretty large roster of agencies that we work with today," he said. "Over the last several years, we've used many agencies in many different areas, and we will continue to do so."