Users in more than a dozen different regions as diverse as Indonesia, Italy, Hong Kong and Columbia all had the same favorite post last month: A smirking Christiano Ronaldo, frozen into hi-fi surreality, captioned with texts tailored for each area. This is the “Risk Everything” campaign by Nike. Although Nike is not a World Cup sponsor, it uses its massive roster of famous players to capitalize on the event’s fervor.
What Nike did here was take a global campaign and target it perfectly. They used offline advertising to break a long video into smaller teaser segments. Importantly, they used social concepts in the real world. Nike organized 5×5 futsal (indoor football) tournaments around the world and tied them to the Risk Everything campaign that the main video, “Winner Stays”, is part of.
This post, the most engaging in Turkey last month according to our latest Social Marketing Report, is different from some other regions’ “Winner Stays” posts. Not only does it feature a different player (Neymar, instead of Ronaldo), but the hashtag included carries an entirely different message than Nike’s posts in other regions. Instead of #riskeverything, the Turkish hashtag is #herşeyiniortayakoy – or, #everythingisrevealed. The difference is minor, but key: it speaks to a notion of discovery that Nike has decided is more engaging for a Turkish audience.
This kind of attention to local detail is a large factor in the campaign’s global success. It’s a market-leading action for a new era.
Nike’s success in this instance – the “Winner Stays” video has amassed nearly 65 million views since its launch less than a month ago – is not just remarkable for its epic scope. It ran a similar campaign for the last World Cup, in 2010, characterized by many similarities. Both ads are slick, fast-paced, detailed productions cast full of major football and pop cultural icons. The 2010 spot, called “Write the Future,” was in fact directed by four-time Academy Award nominee Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu. Both campaigns up the Cup’s ante by implying that the players’ performances will majorly affect their countries. “Write the Future” is arguably a more entertaining campaign.
But it had exponentially less reach than “Winner Stays” is getting from all over the world. Much of this can be credited to the natural growth of social sharing since 2010. Crediting the differences in their success to the increase in social advertising’s popularity and complexity is valid, but it also takes away from Nike’s great capitalization of that growth.
Taken together, their top-down campaign is the perfect realization of social advertising. They took one concept relevant to the whole globe, and made it engaging for targeted audiences through on- and off-line targeting. They feared nothing, risked everything – and won.
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