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Nike id

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Call it customer-centric. Call it immersive. But however you label the kind of marketing David Schriber oversees at Nike, the best description comes from the reaction of an onlooker in New York's Times Square, who was watching Nike sneakers being designed by passers-by and displayed on the Reuters sign 23 stories up: "This proves again why Nike's ahead of the game," he said.

The shoe-building event in Times Square last spring is just the latest example of how far Mr. Schriber, global marketing director in charge of Nike id, the unit that allows consumers to customize their footwear, is taking interactive marketing with consumer in charge. Formerly at cutting-edge marketer Burton Snowboards, Mr. Schriber is well-versed in grassroots-inspired catalogs and promotions .

However, the Nike promotion, designed by interactive agency R/GA, took this genre to a new level by inviting people to dial a phone number, which linked them live to the sign. The final product was available in 60 seconds for download or purchase. Anyone observing the event could see it was a thrill for the customer-designer. But the surprise is that anyone watching the sign was as immersed as the designer of the shoes.

While the rest of the marketing world has just discovered that the Internet has put the consumer in charge, Nike handed the consumer the keys with Nike id. The brand-building benefit is probably immeasurable. As one creative observes: "When a shoe that you've designed arrives at your door, it changes the way you feel about Nike."

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