Every brand manager dreams to have pulled off the best guerrilla marketing campaign of the season with finesse and profitability. Very few actually do.
Nike tried to pull off the best campaign using its ‘Volt-Shoe’ – the bright green abominations that made it look like every athlete dipped their feet in toxic waste to gain supernatural powers that enabled them to float, fly and therefore win. And it worked. Nike dominated the athletic footwear brands. In fact what Nike did to Adidas, who by the way paid $60 million to become an official sponsor; is illegal even in the most hardcore, enemy crushing video games of this generation. I wonder how much the Brand Directors at Nike are paid to do their job. Blogs around the globe claim Nike has pulled off brilliant ambush marketing in the Olympics (source) and I agree.
The simplicity of the campaign was in the color of its shoe. The Volt did everything it was supposed to do – garishly attract attention to the super feet, to show that no matter which country you’re from; there’s Nike, but more importantly it went on to show that Nike is good enough to be used by the world’s best athletes at the make-or-break moment of their lives.
Nike has always been a rebel when it came down to commitment with the Olympic sponsorship. Back in 1984, Nike ran ads of athletes with the “I Love LA” soundtrack totally crushing Converse in terms of awareness. (source link)
All said and done, I LOVE brands that defy any rule that stifles innovation in the name of Olympic Delivery Authority. Someone asked me what I think creates an environment conducive to innovation – I believe its when you have the urge to defy rules that you start innovating.