Ad forms used: Film clips on rich media sites, e-mail alerts, e-postcards and games
Agency: Blast Radius, Wieden & Kennedy
Target audience: Teens
Spending: Brand Nike spent $90,000 to buy 3.2 million impressions in June (Source: NetRatings)
Results: Nike.com, of which the "Play" site is a part, had 736,000 unique visitors in May and 676,000 in June, despite buying an increase in impressions, from 22.7 million impressions in May to 43.5 million impressions in June (Source: Jupiter)
The Web leg of Nike's "Play" campaign is an example of branding subtly, since customers log on just to, well, play.
Play.nike.com is designed to be a teen magnet, outfitted with Web films, mp3 downloads, e-mailable games and mix-your-own-music postcards. The company, which strives to be innovative in all its marketing, uses Play online to show sports kids play in the streets.
"We wanted to tap into the spirit of play as an original expression of sport," says Ian Yolles, Nike director of digital brand marketing. So Nike solicited information from Nike fans about games in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. Then, with Warren Miller Films, Nike began filming the personality of each city. The documentary-style footage of sports such as handball and freestyle biking was edited into Quicktime clips; tracks from local musicians built an mp3 soundtrack for each city. "We've done some experimentation in the past with music and mp3 downloads," Mr. Yolles says. "But Play is pulling it together in one cohesive experience."
Visitors can rate each clip as "totally sick" (great) down to "zzzzzzz." But the competition doesn't end there. Now Nike's combining its online effort with promotions and sponsoring a series of sports competitions, holding playoff festivals in New York and Los Angeles from July to September. Athletes can win Nike gear by flaunting their game by putting it to music, dance or art.
The Play site also has a mixing board where visitors can play DJ. Though advertisers such as Absolut Vodka have used the concept before, Nike styled its version to work with the "Play" theme. Visitors use an on-screen keyboard to create musical e-postcards with sounds and symbols unique to each city. And when Nike uploaded the Chicago show July 20, it began marketing games users can e-mail to others. In August it launched a second game and began delivering daily gaming tips.
Finally, lest one wonder what mixing music and playing games have to do with selling shoes, Nike's Play has woven the campaign's products into the site-Nike shoe images on the site rollover and link to Niketown.com.