Nike: Nike Joyride: Getting Reluctant Runners Running


Campaign Summary

Not everyone is born a runner, but Nike believes everyone is an athlete. However, the brand believes that the athlete inside each of us needs a bit of inspiration to get moving. Knowing this, Nike wanted "reframe the run" to get young "reluctant runners" who represent 75 percent of their audience in China moving.


Objective and Context:

By partnering with online games and using an embedded AR function, Nike was able to engage its target audience and create an impression that its sneaker, Joyride, makes running easier. By guiding consumers to the offline retail stores, Nike was able to further engage its audience with the product to increase sales. This campaign made Nike's most innovative running shoe an overnight success for the brand.

Target Audience:

The target audience were new or reluctant runners who would rather be moving in the digital worlds of esports than in the real world.

Creative Strategy:

Nike partnered with Tencent Game's latest hit, Monster Hunt, one of the most popular games globally with an immense fanbase in China. Monster Hunt is an AR-based game that gets users to move around the country in pursuit of monsters, which they can battle and catch.

Creating a Nike product story that was delivered in a tangible, AR-enabled experience, the company found an effective way to get consumers moving faster as they hunted down monsters online and offline. This strategy made running less daunting and promoted Nike's latest shoe "The Joyride" in the process.


Overall Campaign Execution:

In partnership with Tencent's latest hit game, Monster Hunt, Nike created a first of its kind journey using the game's AR technology. This led to an enhanced in-game experience for users, while also creating an opportunity to engage them with a product benefit made just for new runners. The effort was connected to 200 retail environments.

Mobile Execution:

To promote the message that the Joyride makes running easier, Nike looked for a way to make moving around in the game easier. To do this, Nike created the Joyride mode, a setting that when unlocked, allowed fans to move 20 percent faster in-game than in the real world. Unlocking this mode would allow them to catch more monsters and increase their ranking.

Connecting Joyride Mode back to Nike's latest shoe was key. The company created an online to offline experience. To unlock Joyride Mode, fans needed to collect enough blue and red beads that make up the sole of the Joyride shoe.

Online, fans collected blue beads. To collect red beads, fans needed to visit one of Nike's 200 stores across China, where they also had the chance to try on the Nike Joyride for themselves — and ultimately purchase the shoe. Audiences in stores also had an opportunity to engage with the game using AR while they tried on the shoes.

Results (including context, evaluation, and market impact)

As Nike launched its latest innovation in running shoes in 2019, the brand wanted to lower the perceived barriers to running both through product innovation and the way it brought the product narrative to consumers — specifically those consumers that found running not to be fun, too hard, and a bit painful.

With these goals in mind, Nike wanted to promote Joyride, shoes that were designed to make it easier for consumers to run. Nike succeeded in incentivizing these consumers to move towards a healthier life, as 45 million fans engaged with the campaign in the game alone.

Critically, however, 2.8 million runners collected the most powerful red beads in the game by visiting Nike stores to unlock Joyride Mode. Thanks to this innovative, youthful, and tech friendly campaign, Nike also significantly increased brand metrics amongst teens. For instance, the brand saw a:

  • 40 percent increase in Nike's ranking as a favorite footwear (1.5 times higher than Adidas)
  • 30 percent increase Nike's ranking as a favorite brand
  • 5-point increase in perceptions of Nike as an innovative brand

Categories: | Industries: | Objectives: Cross Mobile Integration, Mobile Gaming, Gamification, and Esports | Awards: X Gold Winner, X Silver Winner