In the last couple of years, the world’s marque sports shoe and apparel company has faced increased competition from a reinvented brand in adidas and the innovative newcomer Under Armour. Between the two competitors, adidas has a particularly strong social media presence. Their adidas Originals Facebook Page boasts nearly 3 million people that “Like” the brand while the Official Under Armour Facebook Page has over 220,000 “Likes”.
Nike elects to take a slightly different approach by leveraging fan created Pages on Facebook in addition to their official Pages like Nike Football and Nike Sportswear, but beyond Facebook and Twitter, one of the most critical keys to the Beaverton, Oregon-based company’s success is their viral video marketing strategy. Nike protects its house by consistently reaching millions of global fans on YouTube with their advertisements.
According to branded video content distributor goviral, Nike owned three of the top ten most viral videos during the month of April. It seems like time and time again, there are a handful of big brand sponsors that are owning the viral video marketing space and Nike is one of them along with regulars Heineken, Coca-Cola, and Red Bull.
As Tod Plotkin, Principal at Green Buzz Agency, point outs, “It is clear Nike has taken a concerted effort to appeal to all possible demographics given the variety of viral videos they are producing. In just about every video, Nike does an exceptional job showcasing their brand’s style, and more importantly, a sense of humor and creativity. Other brands should try hard to replicate their viral video success.”
So let’s go ahead and take a look at the three videos that were launched in April and have accumulated over 4.3 million views on official Nike YouTube channels alone:
The Secret Behind Nike Air (500k views)
In this funny video that features numerous high profile athlete appearances including Maria Sharapova, John McEnroe, Brandon Roy, Troy Palumalu, Paul Rodriguez, Carl Lewis, Sanya Richards, Paula Radcliffe, and comedian David Koechner, Nike reveals a long held secret about their Nike Air shoes. Let’s just say the company has been assisting environmental sustainability efforts by recycling used air.
“The Secret Behind Nike Air” viral ad was created by the agency Arnold Worldwide.
Nike Music Shoe (650k views)
Using a much different approach to reach and appeal to it’s global audience than the creative above, Nike produced this creatively fresh viral video depicting two everyday guys hooking up their Nike shoe collection to a mixer and a set of mega speakers.
With the help of multiple Japanese computer engineers and software developers, Nike was able to effectively pull off this lifestyle activation of the Nike brand. If you thought this viral piece was as cool as we think, then you should check out the behind-the-scenes video.
The “Music Shoe” viral ad was created by the agency Wieden+Kennedy Tokyo.
Earl and Tiger (3.1MM views)
The last video and the one with most views online likely needs little introduction. Last month prior to Tiger Woods return to the Masters in Augusta, Nike released a simple yet extremely risky TV spot that ignited heated discussion everywhere. Clearly a sensitive topic, there are currently over 7,500 comments on the official video. In fact, the “Earl and Tiger” commercial accounts for more than 90% of the Nike Golf YouTube channel’s all-time views (3.1MM out of 3.3MM).
The “Earl and Tiger” advertisement was created by the agency Wieden+Kennedy Portland.
A History of Viral Videos
Nike’s achievement in April builds off the random release of the LT Electric Glide in January and the 2009 end of the year success of the Kobe Bryant vs. Lebron James MVPuppets series.
Nobody is better than Nike in its competitive space at constantly producing fresh video for its global consumers. Because Nike’s content is spread across multiple channels, it doesn’t rank as the most viewed sponsor channel on YouTube (that title technically belongs to the Twilight Films), but if you aggregate Nike’s top 10 channels (Nike Soccer, Nike Football, Nike Futebol, Lebron James, Nike Skate Boarding, Nike Basketball, Nike Golf, Nike, Bauer Hockey, Nike 6.0, and Nike Training), it easily takes the crown with over 104 million channel views.
Many of the videos that compromise these channels are not viral videos, however the consistency of the overall quality reveals why Nike has experienced such amazing results on the YouTube platform.
What do you think about Nike’s viral video dominance?