April 2, 2005
Brand: Nike Operation6453
Challenge: Generate Buzz for a Limited Edition Athletic Shoe among an Influential but Hard-to-Reach Audience
Nike’s release of a limited edition athletic shoe, the Air Force-X Mid, warranted a marketing campaign as cool as the shoe itself. Aimed at collectors of high-end basketball shoes, the new Air Force-X Mid featured imagery by an acclaimed New York graffiti artist who works under the nomme de spraypaint “Stash.” Nike recognized the need to connect the hipster dots between Stash, mobile trendsetters, and “sneakerheads”— high-end athletic shoe aficionados recognized as critical tastemakers—but needed a partner to piece all the elements into a powerful buzz-making program.
Solution: A Mobile-Based Urban Scavenger Hunt
To generate buzz among hip urban adopters while creating a sense of scarcity for a limited edition high-end athletic shoe, Mobliss helped Nike conceive and execute a mobile scavenger hunt in New York City called “Recon.” New York-based “Sneakerheads” were targeted via key circles and invited to join the competition by submitting
their mobile numbers for alerts and interactive game play. Recon participants received clues to find posters dispersed throughout the city in the form of SMS “missions.”
Participants were awarded points based on how quickly they texted back a code posted at that location, as well as how thoroughly they found and identified codes over a four-day period. Top finishers were eligible for prizes, with the highest-scoring players qualifying to pre-buy the limited edition Nike Air Force-X Mid. The mobile campaign captured the guerilla sensibility of both the artist and the shoe, while creating a new and engaging communications vehicle for Nike and one of its core constituencies.
Results: Sales, and Even Harder To Achieve, Street Cred
In addition to a boost in pre-release sales of the Air Force-X Mid (demand at New York City locations easily outstripped supply), Nike achieved something far more elusive: “street cred” and cachet with the highly prized urban demographic. As a direct result of the “Recon” promotion, buzz for the new shoe was clearly transmitted across a number of influential athletic shoe collector Web sites. The campaign also received a write-up in the
influential industry marketing review, Trend Central, for its unique take on mobile marketing.