The Core Strategy
As one of the world’s power brands, Nike has always been adept at rejuvenating its image to the youth market, yet its perception had been suffering somewhat recently given the linkage to its manufacturing operations and product availability on the black market. The following case outlines the approach Ogilvy RedCard adopted to take Nike to the streets of Thailand, in the aim of strengthening and rejuvenating its brand presence and strike a cord with Bangkok’s youth.
Given the highly competitive category (‘street’ and fashion), Nike needed a differentiating message in order to reassert and confirm their position as being the ‘first brand in sport’. Whilst not necessarily drawing too much on the sports messaging, the aim of the campaign was to place Nike back in the driving seat and create an immersion marketing campaign that truly inspired and motivated the illusive youth segment, whilst drawing upon specific cultural elements unique to Bangkok and Thailand specifically.
The underpinning objective of the campaign was to confirm the “Just Do It” spirit of Nike with target youth consumers in Bangkok, and redefine how consumers look at sports and the brand. Ultimately the campaign needed to resonate Nike’s youth-sport culture, which is anchored in sports performance.
Targeting Thai youths aged 15-21, the campaign needed to create a level of cut through that would ultimately lead to the desired interest and action – to get their shoes on and move!
Thai youths represent an illusive market to reach. They typically live with their parents but seek recognition on the street. They have a wide social circle, are streetwise and yet they have a certain naïveté, which they use to express themselves physically and verbally – and, they speak a lot.
They are socially responsible which means they understand the value of family and friends from an early age but this is changing as their understanding of the street grows. It can be said that they also enjoy the thrill of being together yet they understand the boundaries. That said, even if they understand the harsh language of the street, they are still Thai and proud of it.
These insights revealed the strategic opportunity to give this execution the energy and the credibility it needed to cut through at street level without being unnecessarily aggressive or threatening to the general public at large, and the target market.
RedCard, working with other Ogilvy disciplines such as Ogilvy Action, Public Relations and Advertising, felt that the existence of a strong culture had the potential to communicate a distinctive message to the target market. Utilising unique elements of the social fabric (from the Gan Core Club music to the Manga cartoon imagery in the execution), all communication elements were intrinsically linked back to the unifying elements of the cultural beat of Bangkok’s youth market.
Nike wanted to create a motivational, inspiring piece of work, which generates buzz on the street among the target group. Our aim was to have the audience speak about the campaign themselves, for the characters, for the execution, for the message and for what’s in it for them – the big tribal event, planned for April 27 in the city centre.
Jointly, the aim was to create social currency amongst some of the most influential consumers in Thailand and become a beacon of inspiration.
“Nike wants to be a brand which leads, nurtures, encourages and shines the light not only to our core target but to consumers at large, Bangkokians, their families and to our competitors. This powerful campaign demonstrates the strength of an innovative approach to the relationship between media and creative. The team at Ogilvy and RedCard have understood the brief and generated work that we can all be proud to be associated with,” said Carol Chen, Nike Singapore.
“This immersion campaign takes some of the many touch points in the lives of the target market and connects it with Nike, through multiple media and executions based on one big creative idea. We literally took the green shoots of existing planted seeds from the cultural fabric of Thailand and grew them from there to create a truly immersive campaign,” said David Mayo, partner at Ogilvy RedCard.
The Creative Idea
Nike changes a stagnant still and stifling environment into a dynamic, fluid, liberating movement by being the beacon for inspiration for millions of Bangkokians who will converge on the city center on April 27th.
Content of Work:
• 30” full animation TVC (music by Gan Core Club)
• Out of home advertising – billboards, escalators, BTS stations, escalator landings, tunnels linking BTS and shopping centres
The content of work for the campaign was also unique in that some of the outdoor advertising utilized spaces that had previously never been used. By using these new and somewhat uncommon spaces (i.e.: stairwells and escalators in the BTS), it immediately had the desired effect of being ‘different’ and innovative.
The ad itself is designed to prompt a response among all Thai people. As an inspiration to help them reach their potential, the tone of the execution must reflect the Thai’s thirst for innovation in a recognizable form, all designed to make people ACT.
Manga cartoons were used throughout all of the ads, and served as a call to action to “Move Bangkok” in tone, style and delivery. Being the currency among the target audience, the Manga characters are popular, as they seem to be a badge of acceptance at the street level, and are very appealing because of their individual characters and their relevance to the Thai social culture.
Manga is one of the most deliverable, flexible, recognizable art styles available to the youth today. It is a style that allowed us to create some recognition among the target audience whilst giving the flexibility to stamp an individual personality and tone on the characters themselves. This also allowed us to own the characters instead of building the style. Thus, we created Hero Boy, Big Man, Funky Boy, Sexy Girl and Funky Girl. They all have style, geek, knowledge, speed, power, presence, cool and personality. They don’t always smile just because they are meant to – in fact they don’t do much ‘on cue’ but they are close, they have fun and they stick together – this is one of the first rules of the Urban Jungle: they know they are more powerful together than separate. The relationship has emotional as well as rational qualities, and appeals distinctly to our campaign objective and desired effect.
The music selected to support the TVC and street promotions was critical, as this contributed greatly to the imagery and unique cultural appeal. The Gan Core Club was chosen, as they are known in Thailand as the biggest name in urban Hip Hop. The Gan Core Club is a huge troupe of artistes and musicians who have just broken the surface with their unique Thai blend of Hip Hop, and they are being hailed as a new music phenomenon in Asia by commentators like MTV and Channel V and the local music press.
This campaign spans all media: PR, TV, Street, Fly, Poster, Presence, Retail and as 27th April got closer and closer, more ideas and pictures emerged to generate the snowball of interest. The campaign strategy, planning and implementation was done in an informal way, selecting ideas and executions from a variety of new and existing sources, to garner maximum impact and meaning.
The elements of the campaign live on the streets already. Nike have not sought to try and reinvent culture or impose idealism. From the style of the endline to the sound of the music, each and every part of this campaign was orchestrated for its specific and unique ability to resonate with the audience in a meaningful, targeted and strategic manner.
The client was anticipating 4,000 sign-ups, instead they got 7,000 and had to close off registration early. The run itself attracted three times as many participants as anticipated and the event got heavy coverage on TV. Queues for the ‘manga’ tattoos which were distributed on the streets were very long. All in all, the feedback was good. It seems that the ‘cool commentators’ in Bangkok happily endorsed this new Nike campaign.