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Client: Nike

Agency: CP Comunicacion Proximity, Barcelona, Spain

Nike's Spanish campaign "The Scout" was the world's most-awarded direct-marketing campaign in 2003

CP Comunicacion Proximity, the Spanish shop of Omnicom Group's Proximity Worldwide network, invented "The Scout" as the central character in a campaign to maximize sales for Nike merchandise in Spain. According to the first annual Won Report, a ranking of direct marketing campaigns by awards won, The Scout was the most awarded direct-marketing campaign in 2003.

The Scout is a fictional hard-as-nails soccer coach, enlisted by Nike in a contest to recruit kids aged 12-18. The first prize was a day spent training with the top Nike-sponsored players in Spain's soccer league.

The campaign, timed to coincide with the fall back-to-school period, started with a provocative e-mail. The Scout challenged recipients with the message, "So you think you're fast? You think you're a star? You're going to have to prove it."

Anyone who replied to the e-mail then got a letter with details of the contest, information about Nike outlets, a questionnaire and a coupon. To skirt a rule in Spain that marketers are not allowed to target minors with direct mail, the letters were addressed to parents but on the envelope was written, subversively, "Sorry, this is not for you; it's for your son."

The Scout concept extended to point-of-sale, where a life-size cardboard figure loomed in 108 Nike outlets. CP Comunicacion Proximity's campaign led to a year-on-year sales increase of 31%. The letters attracted a 12% participation rate, defined as someone going to a Nike point of sale and spending about $35. The campaign is the first of its kind for Nike in Spain, and had the added benefit of creating a database of 115,000 Nike enthusiasts.

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