Subversive Marketing

How Nike helps its product sell

It is pretty safe to say that Nike has was one of, if not the best marketing departments in any industry. One only has to look at how successful the “Just Do It” campaign with Colin Kaepernick was to see evidence of this, since Nike’s market value rose by SIX BILLION DOLLARS during and after that campaign alone. Everyone seems to have their favourite Nike football commercial as well, with examples such as “Winner Stays” from the 2014 World Cup and “The Mission” from the year 2000 (which is my favourite), to see how much of a dominant force Nike is with their marketing. But there are other, more subtle ways in which Nike markets its product.

Classic ad, classic player

Before the launch of the original CTR360 back in 2009, Nike tried a different approach to marketing the new boots along with the traditional marketing blast. In order to make sure that the boots were almost impossible to miss in the European top leagues, and especially the Premier League, Nike drove a van to every single team’s training ground in the top flight and got a large amount of non-sponsored players into the new boots. That’s right, they just rolled up in a big van and said have at it to any player who wanted them. Given that the boots were a new concept at the time, there were no shortage of takers. This meant that besides the headline players, such as Cesc Fàbregas, the boots were visible on pitch on almost every team in the Premier League and around the other “Big 5” leagues around Europe as well.

This visibility made sure that it was impossible to not see the boots when anyone was watching football. It not only cost Nike a lot less than a traditional marketing campaign, it also meant that they were able to reach an audience who might have not seen the main marketing campaign. This move helped Nike make sure that the CTR360 was able to have a successful launch. Some of you might realise that another recent release from the Swoosh that seemed to be everywhere at the start of the season. That is the Mercurial Vapor 13, specifically the blue launch colourway. I am not 100% on this, but I am fairly certain that Nike once again went around handing boots to non-sponsored players before the start of the season. And though there aren’t as many non-sponsored players as there used to be, the are still more than people might recognize.

When the Vapor 13 launched, it seemed to be absolutely everywhere all at once. Of course part of this is down to the fact that the Vapor is one of the most popular boots out there and any new Vapor is sure to cause a buzz, but since there were a lot of people on the fence about the Vapor series switching to a knit upper, it could be possible that this was a move by Nike to make sure that the Vapor had better sell-through via visibility on the pitch. Again, I could be wrong but given their history on this type of subversive marketing, it wouldn’t surprise me.

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