Nike Tries to Get Consumers to Jog on the World Wide Web
Andrew Ross Sorkin N. Y. Times News Service, THE JOURNAL RECORD
The athletic footwear giant Nike is trying to bolster its "street" credentials by going one-on-one with consumers on-line. An extensive print and outdoor-media campaign began in June eschews Nike's evocation of the emotional drama of sports to focus instead on interactivity.
Instead of portraying athletes wearing Nike's ubiquitous logo, the advertisements, by Wieden & Kennedy in Portland, Ore., feature photographs of Nike sneakers accompanied by e-mail addresses that refer slyly to the marquee athletes who endorse the shoes.
Consumers who go on-line to send e-mail to the addresses in the ads receive automated replies from Nike, which direct them to other World Wide Web sites offering additional product information. "Every shoe has a story to tell," said Chris Zimmerman, advertising director for North America at Nike's headquarters in Beaverton, Ore. "These ads are really about showing that the product speaks for itself," he added. "This is really the first time we have ever done anything like this." One ad presents a shoe named the Air Foamposit 1 along with the e- mail address penny "Hey, thanks for the e-mail. So you've seen the new Air Foamposit 1, also known as Penny's new space boot. Pretty cool huh? You probably haven't had a chance to really study em cuz Penny's always moving so fast, so check out http://www.breakudown.com." And e-mail to rmiller "So you've seen Reggie Miller's new Air Total Max, huh? Now when you finish practicing your jumpers, go check out http://www.makeitrain.com and witness the ultimate ride for sinkin' threes." Those curious enough to follow the computer's suggestion must then use Web browsers like the Netscape Navigator or Microsoft's Internet Explorer to enter the Web addresses and gain access to the Web sites. Asked why Nike did not simply include the Web site addresses in the ads, Zimmerman replied that "it's more interactive" to present only the e-mail addresses. Besides, he added, "We don't think of them as Web sites so much as we think of them as `sitelets,' all linking back to Nike." The print portion of the multilayered, multimedia campaign is appearing in magazines like Sports Illustrated and Rolling Stone. …