Nike's idea was to enable young footballers to capture and share their goals using everyday mobile tech, specially installed cameras, and a partnership with UGC platform Weishi.
The company first identified 10 small-sided pitches in Shanghai, Beijing, and Guangzhou which are hubs for young footballers. Not premium ones with the best pitch, but ones where real young teenagers were playing.
Nike then set up cameras at different angles around each goal, installed goal-line sensor technology to capture video footage of very goal, and took over the whole pitch area with branded courtwraps.
The cameras would detect when the ball crossed the line, capturing the 10 seconds of video footage before the goal and five seconds after. The 15-second clips were then instantly developed into branded and soundtracked content using a proprietary content management system. All the videos were uploaded directly to Weishi, where players could retrieve, share, and download their finest moments.
Nike's tech-powered content capture design was the first of its kind in China, providing a unique experience for young footballers for a whole month.
Objective and Context:
Nike wanted to inspire and enable young Chinese footballers to fulfill their potential during the most competitive time in the football media calendar: the FIFA Football World Cup.
The target was young footballers between the ages of 15 and 25 in China. This segment is dedicated to the game and hungry for recognition. Every young footballer dreams of being able to share their best on-pitch moments with their mates.
Amazing moments happen for amateur footballers in every game, but unlike professional footballers on TV, they are gone in a flash.
How could Nike command attention from young Chinese footballers during a tournament when their team was not playing? And how could the company make them better, more confident players for the future?
Nike realized that the Quarter Finals is the peak moment of this segment's attention. Due to the nature of the draw, the company anticipated there would be a high number of superstar players on the pitch during these games. This was combined with the fact the time difference with Russia (where the tournament was held) meant the games were on at a suitable time in China over the weekend.
But Nike didn't want to just spark the dream; it had to help create this new reality. What if Nike could empower young footballers to capture and share their best footballing moments at any time? Given the power of social capital for Chinese youth, Nike saw the opportunity to harness this to drive them to push themselves on the pitch, make themselves better, and advertise to their networks that Nike was the brand that helped them get there.
Overall Campaign Execution:
Chinese football is in a slump. The poor standard of the national team and the negative sentiment stifling the nation was affecting how young players were playing. They were lacking the confidence to express themselves on the pitch.
Every four years, the World Cup presents a huge business opportunity for Nike. China wasn't in the tournament in 2018, but Nike's new strategy was about to put it on the map.
Nike launched its brand message at the Quarter Final weekend, owning the media world of Chinese teenager footballers for three full days supported by a total of $5 million investment.
The World Cup media scene is extremely cluttered with countless brands trying to get their share of footballers' wallet. Nike's key competitor adidas was outspending the brand by 700 percent.
By activating against its two key insights, the company leveraged its segments' needs:
Its "Dare to Become" campaign delivered 500 million total campaign impressions, including 264 million video views, and reached 83 percent of its audience.
Despite adidas spending seven times more than Nike's media spend, its launch burst drove a 250 percent Baidu search uplift for the brand, also lifting search interest far above adidas's highest point during the tournament (including its brand film launch).
Nike also dominated conversation. During its key media moment, Nike WeChat index was three times higher than before the campaign launch, and 10 times higher than the adidas index. The company enabled young footballers to play better by allowing them to create and share videos of their best footballing moments.
Despite only being open for a month on 10 pitches, 4,600 goal videos were shared on Weishi, sparking a broader trend of #daretobecome videos generating 99 million video views. Each video was seen 20,000 times on average.