Nike: Nike Next%: Speed is Your Currency


Campaign Summary

Launching Nike's fastest running shoe yet, the Next%, Nike needed to harness data to identify and engage the nation's fastest and most dedicated runners. Nike wanted to increase brand favorability among this audience of dedicated runners and create hype for the launch of the Next%.


Objective and Context:

Nike leveraged the data provided by pacing platforms to identify the nation's fastest and most dedicated runners. This led to a strategic shift in Nike's new product-launching strategy, which sought to generate a powerful halo-effect from average runners' desire to emulate these elite athletes.

Target Audience:

Nike was targeting China's fastest runners, whom the company believe were a niche audience who would "do anything to gain speed and get ahead of the pack."

Creative Strategy:

Nike's Next% aimed to be the fastest running shoe ever created, allowing those who run in them to run more than two percent faster. For marathon runners, the best runners in the world, two percent can make all the difference when breaking a personal best or even a world record. For this reason, Nike wanted to ensure the Next% would only be worn by its most dedicated runners to help them achieve their fastest pace.

This shift in approach not only required intelligent use of data to identify and reward the fastest runners, it also meant that Nike needed to rework its product distribution plan, reserving the product for only the fastest runners.

Ultimately, Nike created a new currency for runners to purchase the industry's top product: speed.

In order to facilitate the reward system and ensure that the brand was reaching the fastest runners, Nike integrated a mechanism in the pacing apps used daily by over 24 million runners, daring them to go faster.

While Next% is a shoe aimed at experienced, fast runners, it still had a role to play for everyday runners. In contrast to the fastest runners, everyday runners' purchase behavior is largely driven by the influencers they follow. In fact, 87 percent of this group make their decision based on the athletes who already own the product.

By limiting Next%'s availability to the fastest runners, Nike hoped to stimulate purchase desire among everyday runners for Nike's entry-level speed products: Fast Pack.


Overall Campaign Execution:

Nike focused on leveraging digital resources including the apps Douyin and WeChat. Nike also collaborated with leading fitness influencers to create a live experience that felt personal to each athlete who participated.

Mobile Execution:

Across China's most popular running platforms, YDK, Xiaomi, and Yudong, Nike used a runner's speed as a currency to unlock access to Next%. Male runners could qualify with an average pace of 4:55 minutes per kilometer, while female runners needed to clock in at 5:40 minutes per kilometer to qualify. Conversely, everyday runners with a slower pace would be redirected to Fast Pack, Nike's other slate of speed-related products.

Integrating with each app's tracking technology allowed for easy synchronization with pace-tracking data. By collaborating with the running community app Joyru, Nike was further able to stir interest among those running groups with the fastest average paces, elevating desire among the slower paced groups.

There were separate user journeys for elite and average runners. The fastest runners were directed to a QR code download page which would enable them to proceed with a Next% purchase. Everyday runners were directed to the Fast Pack page for an opportunity to purchase Nike's entry-level speed-focused product.

Results (including context, evaluation, and market impact)

Next%'s business objective was to reinforce Nike's position as the preferred footwear brand, measured within their quarterly brand health tracker. And Next% delivered impressive results, boosting Nike's National preferred footwear brand sentiment by 40 percent, countering a 16 percent drop experienced the previous quarter.

The campaign's communication objective was to establish Next% as an icon for speed. In media, this was measured through both runner engagement with the campaign and purchase desire. Next% successfully engaged 1,460,000 unique users, of which 918,000 demonstrated purchase desire by participating, i.e., using an app to find out if their pace was fast enough to unlock Next%.

Out of the 277,000 front runners using Nike's four apps, 20 percent engaged with the campaign and 31,000 of them demonstrated purchase desire by using their pace as a currency to unlock Next%.

Finally, while the Next% initiative was led by Nike's fastest shoe and catered to the most dedicated runners, Nike also created product access opportunities for beginning and intermediate runners. A total of 56,000 everyday runners engaged with Fast Pack. This helped create a stronger connection between running levels and other products across Nike's running portfolio to enhance commercial impact.

Leveraging speed as a currency to reward runners was successful in increasing brand preference. This campaign reflected a strategic shift in Nike's product strategy when it comes to releasing high-performance shoes.

Categories: | Industries: | Objectives: Relationship Building/CRM, mCommerce | Awards: X Gold Winner, X Silver Winner