Nike changed the game on how it engages basketball fans during its must-win live game moments. By flipping the script on "advertising" and becoming the experience fans wanted most, consumers raced to Nike's owned channel on WeChat en masse, setting a new standard not only for itself but for the entire category and mobile marketing industry.
Objective and Context:
Live games are a must-win moment for Nike, and the All-Star Weekend is a huge annual event of live games to engage basketball fans across three days. Nike created a unique line of Jordan products customized for the moment. But more important than product, Nike wanted to use the opportunity to embed itself in the digital behaviors of its audience and enhance their once-a-year experience rather than disrupting audiences with its advertising.
Nike was speaking to digitally engaged basketball fans between the ages of 16 and 29. When a game is live, they are a digitally distracted audience as they flip across screens and platforms to maximize their viewership experience. They aren't just watching the game passively; they are also talking about the games in real time on social, checking the latest player statistics, and even searching for the latest products worn by their favorite athletes.
There was an opportunity for Nike to elevate and consolidate its viewership experience. More specifically, Nike integrated its viewership experience all within one place, Nike's Mini program on WeChat. (WeChat Mini programs that function like mobile websites/apps within WeChat.)
In a first-of-its-kind execution, the company brought together all the elements of the audience's viewership experience in one place. Only within Nike's Mini program could users watch the live stream while simultaneously chatting with friends in real-time chatrooms. Users had access to limited edition content and product experiences within the socially-enabled live stream, seamlessly connecting them to product purchase.
Overall Campaign Execution:
In the second year that Nike sponsored activation around the All-Star Weekend, Nike flipped the way it engaged with consumers. Rather relying on paid media to push product and disrupt consumers, Nike instead became the experience audiences wanted most. And by putting the consumer first, this mobile-first execution delivered extraordinary results with long-term value.
One hundred percent of Nike's $1 million was spent on this integrated execution, helping the company to deliver a comprehensive user experience with high-quality mobile viewing, social enablement, and a seamless link to Nike's owned e-commerce channels within WeChat.
This mobile experience was created and coded just for Nike's basketball fans, and it was seamlessly integrated into the brand's owned WeChat ecosystem. The experience became the core of the campaign and allowed Nike to become part of the All-Star Weekend in a way that traditional "paid media" could never achieve.
To bring this experience to consumers, Nike engaged audiences with a highly targeted campaign reaching sports fans across key platforms. Fans were able to quickly jump into the viewership experience in Nike and bring their friends along with them. This helped create a strong user-get-user effect, boosting engagement and conversions beyond expectations.
While the Nike's All-Star Weekend experience was live, Jordan products funneled a 206 percent increase in traffic to the Nike Mini program, leading to a 165 percent increase in revenue during the campaign period.
Beyond the short-term value of traffic and one-off revenue, Nike's activation with Jordan during All-Star Weekend also contributed to a 240 percent increase in membership during the campaign period. This showcased the value of selling the experience over the product to maximize the value of long-term connection with Nike in the eyes of consumers.