The one-liner: Nike’s infamous love-letter to London, and the influencer-driven launch strategy that went with it
The context: Marketers got hot under the collar about this one; how could a campaign so squarely targeted at Londoners be relevant to the rest of the UK? I watched with amusement as those squarely OUTSIDE of the diverse, young audience it was made for debate this until they were blue in the face. But this isn’t another piece about that. I want to talk about the reason it was given the Grand Prix in the inaugural Social & Influencer category at Cannes this year…
Why it’s great: The ‘shot for social’ style video was great in itself (visually, it’s a fantastic piece of work) – but as referenced by the Cannes Lions judges, social video alone is rarely enough to take home a prize. Instead, they called out its mass-coordination of grassroots influencers.
Nike wanted to reaffirm its connection with youth in London, so created a mobile-first tale of one-upmanship that placed 258 real kids front and centre. The film features support from 30 highly-relevant, better-known athletes & influencers – but instead of taking the starring role, they’re there to provide encouragement and engagement.
The video was launched scene by scene, starting with Skepta, then rolled out across each of the kids’ Instagram feeds before coming together as a final three minute film on YouTube that instantly went viral. There were bespoke ‘Swipe Up’ Instagram Stories on influencer feeds, Snapchat stickers and gifs for dark social (32m views on those alone via Giphy), all directing kids to watch the full video or sign up for free sports events across the city. At the time, you just couldn’t get away from it.
The takeaway: The campaign included solid targeting across multiple formats, telling stories that were hyper-relevant and representative of a specific borough & demographic. While use of well-known faces still featured, it feels credible and authentic. The story isn’t cliché; it’s honest. And launching to the youth audience, by the youth audience, on a platform they turn to first – is never going to be a bad move. It’s a shame the full length version has been pulled due to a copyright issue. But the impact’s already been felt.