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IMC CAMPAIGN PAPER COMPANY: NIKE

Overview Nike was founded by a desire to strive for the best. In 1955 Phil Knight was an athlete running track for Bill Bowerman, and together they formed a powerful combination. After completing his undergraduate work at Oregon Mr. Knight went on to graduate school at Stanford University to obtain an MBA. While at Stanford he wrote a paper on how one could outsource the production of running shoes to Japan and compete with the reputable brands already in the industry. Eventually Knight found a distributor and attempted to sell to Bowerman, his former college track coach. Mr. Bowerman had been tinkering with running shoes in the past and wanted to partner with Knight. In 1964, Blue Ribbon Sports (BRS) was founded with a $500 investment by each and an order of 300 pairs of shoes. The first full-time BRS employee, Jeff Johnson, created the first marketing materials for BRS and also developed the name Nike. At around the same time, Knight and Bowerman decided to take a different direction from being a footwear distributor and primarily focus on designing and manufacturing their own brand of athletic shoes (www.nikebiz.com). When they decided to launch the new Nike line they realized that having an athlete endorse the shoes would provide unique exposure. Nike sought out Steve Prefontaine who ran track for Bowerman at University of Oregon. Prefontaine already had a tremendous fan following and had never lost a race over a mile at Oregon s home track while in college. Unfortunately, Prefontaine was involved in a fatal car accident at the age of 24. In the early 80s Nike enlisted the assistance of Wieden + Kennedy who developed an Evolution campaign. This campaign reinforced Nike s commitment to runners by showing the importance they place on innovations to shoes. It also started a creative partnership that would see both companies grow extraordinarily. By 1980 Nike had completed an IPO and introduced their Nike Air line of footwear. The next athlete enlisted to endorse Nike was Michael Jordan. David Falk, Jordan s agent, was evaluating offers from bigger shoe companies like Converse and Adidas at the time that Nike also decided to make an offer. Though the Nike bid was lower, Falk liked the idea of receiving a

percentage of revenue for the Jordan shoe line and decided on Nike. The shoes were a tremendous success paved the way for the creation of Jordan s own brand Jumpman that is still extraordinarily popular today years after Jordan s retirement from the NBA. Using Jordan as a catalyst for further athlete endorsement, the whole sports industry followed suit with marketing campaigns featuring professional athletes. Throughout the 80 s and 90 s Nike ventured into most every category of sport. Tiger Woods was the next landmark athlete for Nike. This partnership once again had high correlation in values from the standpoint of both Nike and Woods. By 2000, Nike had continued to heavily endorse high profile athletes as well as gaining several teams sponsorships. Big name athletes like Lance Armstrong, Tiger Woods, and LeBron James led the way for Nike into the new millennium. In 2006 Nike launched the campaign for their Nike Plus line. Nike Plus was an innovative program that Nike developed as a new communication method to reach its customers. One of the goals for Nike Plus was to combine sports and music. It also helped to reestablish a connection to the serious runner, as it included several features that helped to track important workout information for runners. Another objective was to drive revenue throughout the running division of Nike. Since runners vary in their levels of performance and athleticism Nike Plus products targeted a broad range of runners from the geeked-out marathoners to everyday fitness joggers (R/GA). The Nike Plus line has changed hands between advertising agencies over the years. In 2007 Nike switched the Plus line from RG/A, who created nikeplus.com, to Crispin Porter + Bogusky for the advertising of Nike Plus and other product lines. On May 22, 2008 Nike switched the Plus line to Wieden + Kennedy, the original advertising agency that created the Evolution campaign for Nike years before. Situational Analysis To examine the Nike Plus line we will begin by looking at the internal factors regarding Nike s promotions capabilities and history, in addition to looking at the product itself. Then we will look into the external factors specifically analyzing the customers, competition, and environment. When looking at Nike s extensive capabilities for promotion, it is easy to imagine that they had an extensive budget for the initial Nike Plus launch in 2006. If Nike chooses to develop a new campaign, especially in a core area like running, it is going to make sure and back it with

sufficient funds and resources. Nike not only has its internal team, as we discussed earlier they also work with top advertising agencies. One component of internal analysis is to evaluate the successes and/or failures of previous campaigns. Nike s history shows a great deal of success both through their products and advertising campaigns. In addition, Nike has a strong brand image throughout their industry with broad global appeal. The running shoe market, an external factor has also evolved along with Nike as a company. Adidas was a major player prior to Nike entering the market. Currently, there are several primary players within the athletic shoe industry. Nike s direct competition includes brands like Adidas with similar marketing strategies in that they utilize athlete endorsements. Since 2005, Adidas has also had a partnership with Polar who is a company with a strong reputation in the heart rate monitor industry. In addition, there are other competitive companies like New Balance who specifically promotes its non use of professional athletes in advertising. The newest and possibly most threatening company is Under Armour. Two months ago, the Baltimore Business Journal reported Under Armour will be entering the running show industry in the first half of 2009. This entrance by Under Armour will cause several companies to alter or reevaluate their 2009 campaigns if they have not already done so. With their Nike Plus line of products Nike was able to see the market opportunity to provide technology with their running products. Though Adidas had a program to do thispreviously, Nike was seeking to alter the entire running experience. Nike partnered with Applewhich is a company of similar strong brand power and recognition in their respective industry. The Nike Plus line hoped to reach a broad range of consumers through running and innovative technology to ultimately improve the running experience with features like automatically sending workout data to the web. Nike and Apple were both able to leverage their strong brand identities to form a competitive advantage of brand power with Nike Plus. This took aspects of the running shoe technology from Nike and combined that with Apple s iPod which dominated the MP3 market. The distribution channels for Nike Plus included the broad array of channels available for existing Nike products worldwide, in addition to including electronic products being available on Apple.com and in Apple retail stores. Nike Town stores in a few major cities featured high profile athletes like Mariano Rivera, Ben Gordon, and Lindsey Jacobellis (Olympic snowboarder). This promotional part of the marketing mix was consistent with Nike s previous utilization of athletes as endorsers. The products initially launched in the Nike Plus campaign included six types of running shoes and the Nike+ iPod Sport Kit. Products were available at Nike.com, Nike Town & Nike Women stores, as well as some retail stores. The initial prices at the time of the campaign launch in 2006 are listed below: Nike + iPod Sport Kit - $29

Nike + enabled footwear - $80 to $100

Positioning and Branding One approach to evaluate the positioning of Nike Plus is to analyze their image relative to competitors. As discussed previously, Nike has several overall competitors in the running industry, and new ones on the verge of entering. However, the Nike Plus line of products in itself has very few direct competitors with the scope of services it has to offer. The primary competitor is Adidas based on their partnership with Polar, their history, and their potential budget. The budget for Adidas is likely to be smaller than what is available toNike, and it will probably take an innovator to directly compete with Nike Plus. Looking at the customer perceptions of the competitors you cannot find one with as strong a brand image and association as Nike and Apple. In their respective industries each definitely has strong competitors, but with their unique combination of running, strong brand images, technology, and music, Nike Plus is unmatched. Therefore potential customers are unlikely to view competitors in the same regard that they view Nike Plus. Apple has a strong hold of their market for the iPod and that has transferred over into the Nike Plus campaign, since consumers overwhelmingly prefer the iPod over the competitors in that particular market. Nike took a position to target a broad segment with an undifferentiated marketing approach. There were several segments within the overall Nike Plus campaign, but the message was the same to each of these target demographics. Nike was particularly interested in marketing to avid runners to gain back credibility with serious runners , yet they also wanted to appeal to more casual runners as well as people who were new to running. The broad range of segments is probably the best approach in the long run to appeal to the largest market. This also helps to play towards the overall theme of the Nike Plus campaign integrated marketing communications plan, which is to drive revenues for Nike Plus products. The broad range of resources at the disposal for Nike and Apple for the Plus program provides sufficient resources to achieve a successful campaign. The competition facing Nike with respect to their Nike Plus line of products is relatively weak at the moment. The current positioning of the strategy is working, but with limited competition. The position has been moving toward more involvement by the consumer. The recent Nike+ Human Race 10K not only reestablishes a connection with the consumer, but goes one step further to have a worldwide reach. This shows that Nike was not content and was monitoring their position by creating a new and innovative way for the consumer to experience running. Return on Investment Return on investment for IMC campaigns can be is a very controversial topic, and there are varying approaches to measuring it. No matter which method is used, it is very difficult to be completely accurate. If one looks at sales alone it is not entirely accurate, because there are other intangible factors. By taking an objective and task method, a start would be to isolate an

objective of the Nike Plus campaign, such as reaching a broad range of consumers across various segments within the running industry. One of the tasks could be to drive traffic to the website to gain basic demographic information and collect consumer email addresses. This could then be used for specific targeted ads that might even vary across all Nike products depending on the consumer. The expenditure could be an online viral campaign and email list blast to promote a new Nike Plus Point program. The program would offer points for purchases, and participation in events like the Nike+ Human Race 10K. One helpful piece of data to measure could also be the additional pass-along to others. Nike Plus would offer customers points also for getting friends to sign up for the program. This opt-in for emails would give the complete range of Nike products to cross-sell. Once the point program was in place and users registered there could be additional areas to review. Some of these would include the direct sales numbers from the program compared to the cost of the campaign. This would be a simple analysis of the numbers, but would not be inclusive of the whole campaign. We could also try to track the exposures and registration from customers passing the promotion along to friends. Furthermore, there would have to be an analysis of the overall complete customer exposures. This would be throughout different retailstores like NikeTown, NikeWomen stores, and would include selected retailers. After that the objectives would need to be reevaluated. This process would be complex as well because all objectives would have to be broken out separately and looked at in the same process that we just used. The primary figures to assist in measuring the overall effectiveness for the Nike Plus IMC campaign would ultimately involve measuring total sales of Nike Plus products prior to and after specific campaigns. Nike could also measure registrations and participation for their Nike Plus Human Race 10K, Apple iTunes sales, nikeplus.com website views and registrations, and media exposure for their various public relations and marketing programs. However, whatever measures are chosen to determine return on investment for the Nike Plus integrated marketing communications plan are unlikely to be exact measures of the true value of the campaign.

IMC Program: Nike Plus Nike has created and is currently implementing an extensive integrated marketing communication plan for their Nike Plus line of products and apparel. Nike is utilizing both traditional mass media advertising as well as online tools in constructing a comprehensive IMC

program for NIKE Plus. This program succeeds in constructing synergies across multiple marketing and advertising platforms to communicate a unified message to their potential customer base. The main objective of the integrated marketing communications plan for Nike Plus is to move the sales needle for Nike running shoes, Nike running apparel, and Nike Plus electronic running accessories. Nike is also trying change the perception that their running shoes are not meant for serious runners . There is a commonly held perception in the running community that Nike running shoes are not technologically engineered for experienced and dedicated runners. A successful IMC campaign for Nike Plus will thus help to change the perception of the Nike Running brand and increase their market share at the expense of their rivals. In addition to selling their Nike Plus branded products Nike is also trying to generate interest and registrations for their Nike Plus Human 10K Race. The Human 10K Race is an international race that is being held in 25 cities worldwide on August 31, 2008. As an event the race itself is a part of the IMC program surrounding Nike Plus, while also serving as a fundraiser for various charitable causes. Many elements of Nike Plus current advertising is promoting the race in conjunction with their Nike Plus products. Furthermore, another objective of the Nike Plus IMC campaign is to promote Nike s partnership with Apple and iTunes. The original Nike Plus Sport Kit includes an electronic transmitter co-branded with the Nike Plus logo and the Apple logo which runs in sync with Apple s iPod Nano, and this product is still being sold and promoted today. In fact another component of the Nike Plus integrated marketing communication plan is their synergy with Apple and the resulting advertising and promotion that they receive from Apple s website and Apple s iTunes store. In addition to these benefits Nike Plus products are available for sale through Apple s on-line store and retail locations. Therefore, Nike has a variety of objectives that they are trying to achieve with the integrated marketing communications plan for their Nike Plus line of products. While Nike s primary goal is to create sales of their Nike Plus branded running products, Nike is also trying to strengthen the Nike Plus brand within the realm of the overall Nike corporation. The company is trying to

achieve this goal through the implementation of a wide ranging IMC plan which focuses on interaction between consumers and Nike Plus products. Since Nike Plus products are being primarily marketed towards dedicated runners, and because the products are predicated on activity by the user, the Nike plus IMC campaign itself revolves around active marketing elements. Examples of this, which will be explored further, include the Nike Plus Human 10K Race, the Nike Plus website, and the Nike affiliation with Apple and iTunes. As IMC evolves, it is being recognized as a business process that helps companies identify the most appropriate and effective methods for communicating and building relationships with customers and stakeholders (Belch and Belch 12). With respect to this concept Nike is trying to make Nike Plus products a part of active people s lifestyles, thus creating a high involvement product and IMC campaign that will strengthen the Nike Plus brand image and result in long term dedicated consumers and sustained product sales. Advertising The Nike Plus integrated marketing campaign involves extensive advertising across multiple media platforms. These include: television commercials, print media, radio advertisements, and internet banner ads. Nike also advertises their Nike Plus line of products by featuring them prominently in their Nike Town stores with their own dedicated section, frequently located in a primary spot of the stores. Nike also has relationships with sporting goods stores such as Dick s and The Sports Authority, and these retailers set up dedicated sections and displays for Nike Plus products. Dick s is even currently running an advertisement with Lance Armstrong to promote their stores, the Lance Armstrong Foundation and Live Strong branded products, the Human Race 10K, and Nike Plus. Historically Nike Plus advertisements have focused on the running and fitness component of the product, with an additional emphasison the technological advantages of their product and relationship with Apple and the iPod. Past Nike Plus television commercials and print media advertisements have featured normal people who are not celebrities. During television commercials the actors are either shown running themselves, or the viewer is presented with a first person perspective of the sights and sounds from the runner s point of view. The commercials usually feature a voice over where the runner narrates their journey and emphasizes the difficulties and dedication that their pursuit requires. These spots are also often filled with contemporary rock music to emphasize the iPod and musical component of the Nike Plus products. Other past television commercials demonstrate the technical component of Nike Plus products by showing a person running and allowing the viewer to listen to the digital voice that they will hear monitor their time and distance, while displaying statistics on the television screen to monitor what the runner sees on their iPod. These commercials also

show the runners syncing their iPod with computers to upload their most recent running statistics after completing a run. It appears that the overall goal of these advertisements is to show the technological elements of the Nike Plus system in addition to branding the product as a fitness tool for the average person and dedicated runner. These types of advertisements that Nike typically employed to promote their Nike Plus line of products appealed to consumers on an emotional level through transformational advertising. Transformational advertising can help differentiate a product or service by making the consumption experience more enjoyable by suggesting the type of experiences consumers might have when they consume the product or service (Belch and Belch 286). Nike s goal with their Nike Plus advertisements was to identify their products as a way of making running more enjoyable and rewarding. In addition, these advertisements attempted to capitalize on people s emotions by emphasizing personal feelings such as pride, achievement, ambition, and actualization. Nike s goal is to set up a transfer system where the consumer associates these desirable feelings of accomplishment with the Nike Plus products through their advertisements. The consumer will then associate the product with these feelings and attributes that they wish to achieve, and they will purchase Nike Plus products as a means of achieving their goals. Recently Nike has modified their Nike Plus advertisements to focus on the upcoming Nike Plus Human Race 10K. Since the race date is less than one month away, it is being held worldwide on August 31st, 2008, Nike appears to have shifted their entire Nike Plus advertising campaign to promoting the race. As an example, recent Nike Plus television commercials promote the Human Race event itself and do not focus on their products. Although these advertisements do emphasize the branding of the race through the Nike Plus title sponsorship and race coordination. These advertisements have also taken a different direction because they utilize celebrities, discuss the charitable benefits of the race, and emphasize the worldwide collective elements of the event. Recently two television commercials have featured Lance Armstrong and rapper Kanye West in separate spots. These commercials are a noted departure from the previous line of advertisements because they appeal to the consumer on a rational and emotional level. These advertisements also differ from other Nike Plus commercials because both celebrities emphasize that fact that by racing you will be part of a collective worldwide group that is

running to help charities, whereas previous Nike Plus spots had always emphasized individuality and self improvement. These ads do not show runners, Nike Plus products, and they do not contain music, they simply feature the celebrity standing against a plain white back drop and speaking to the camera, which also presents a departure from other Nike Plus advertisements. Sales Promotion Strategy The Nike Plus integrated marketing communications plan is notable for its relative lack of sales promotions. In this regard it appears that Nike is going against recent trends in advertising. Over the past two decades, however, marketers have been allocating more of their promotional dollars to sales promotion. There has been a steady increase in the use of sales promotion techniques to influence consumers purchase behavior (Belch and Belch 553). On the clearance section of Nike s website they offer a very limited number of items from the Nike Plus collection at discounts; however these items are typically from past years collections, and even then they are available in limited sizes. There is no evidence available that suggests Nike or Apple have ever offered any sales promotions around the core Nike Plus electronic products. This is possible because Nike and Apple both have strong brand identities and the Nike Plus system is a distinctive product co-branded by both companies, thus it is probably not necessary for them to offer sales promotions around the product. However, with the Nike Plus Human Race 10K Nike has constructed a form of sales promotion to entice people to sign up for the race, although they must still pay a fee to enter the race. Each participant that registers to run the Human Race 10K in one of the twenty five global cities pays a $35 registration fee. In return they receive an individually numbered Nike Dri Fit Human Race 10K t-shirt, access to a post-race concert in their city, and $5 is donated to a designated charity. Direct Marketing Programs It is unclear how much Nike relies on direct marketing efforts as part of their marketing mix for promoting Nike Plus products and the Nike Plus Human Race 10K. While it is unlikely that Nike employs telemarketing, infomercials, or television spots for direct marketing purposes, Nike Plus products are part of Nike catalogues and both Nike and Apple send out e-mails to customers in their respective databases. As an example, Apple recently sent out a mass e-mail to their iTunes registered customer database on July 24, 2008 entitled Gear Up for the Nike+ Human Race 10K . The e-mail directs potential customers to either the Nike Plus dedicated website or the Apple website, and it advertises the multiple synergies between Nike and Apple which provides a direct tie in to other elements of the Nike Plus integrated marketing communications plan.

Internet/Interactive Strategy Internet marketing is perhaps the focal point and most utilized component of the Nike Plus integrated marketing communications media mix. It is a critical element for promoting as well as utilizing the central component of the Nike Plus product category, and Nike has created a high level of internet interaction around Nike Plus. The primary benefit of the Nike Plus electronic system is that runners can use either an armband or Apple iPod in conjunction with a Nike Plus transmitter that fits into specially designed Nike running shoes to monitor and track their progress while running. After finishing a run the runner connects the armband or iPod to their computer and uploads their running data to a race tracking program that is available on the nikeplus.com website. In order to access the site a customer must create an account with Nike, and from that point forward they can save their data through the website. Nike also offers a wide array of training and tracking tools that customers can use through the nikeplus.com website which creates a very high level of consumer interaction with the site and frequent site visits. These programs include the Nike+ Coach which allows Nike Plus users to get customized training programs designed for their individualized goals or set specific goals to work towards in the future. The Nike Plus internet site also has a community feature that allows users to join teams and running clubs while monitoring their status against other teams and individuals from anywhere in the world. Furthermore, the Nike Plus IMC plan leverages their relationship with Apple and its iTunes music store to create further internet marketing efforts and interactivity amongst users. The iTunes music store sells a number of customized sport mixes that have been designed by customers, and Apple markets these mixes through the Nike Plus brand and website. For example, a link through the Nike Plus website entitled Gear and Music allows the user to click on a link for sport mixes which takes the customer directly to the iTunes music store and

presents them with a collection of songs that is specifically designed for runners. These songs are available for purchase at the rate of ninety-nine cents per song individually or as an entire collective mix . Like other aspects of the Nike Plus internet marketing plan this feature is highly interactive and customizable since the mixes are song compilations compiled by other Nike Plus and iTunes customers. These song mixes are even rated and commented on by other users which lend an air of credibility to the product.

In addition to the Nike Plus tracking feature and iTunes store music downloads there are a number of other internet and interactive components to the nikeplus.com dedicated website, including the ability to purchase Nike Plus products directly from various links through the nike.com website. The site contains a runner s blog with information on marathons and racing events throughout the country, Olympic trials, and updates on Nike sponsored runners. The blog also contains training information and a question and answer feature where University of Colorado middle distance running coach Jay Johnson answers reader submitted questions. Likewise, interested customers can sign up for an insider newsletter and RSS feeds that can be accessed through iTunes. There are also dedicated forums that allow users to interact and communicate with the Nike+ community . These forums contain comments as well as questions and answers from runners throughout the entire world who interact through the Nike Plus website to discuss a wide range of topics. This extensive combination of interactive elements greatly enhances and integrates the Nike Plus brand and IMC campaign while also encouraging people to buy Nike Plus products in order to participate in the community. The programs also drive people to both the Nike Plus website and the iTunes music store, and they encourage people to spend a great deal of time on the sites through the volume and breadth of interactive tools.

Nike has also used internet banner ads to advertise Nike Plus products, and in conjunction with their current integrated marketing communications plan these banner ads have been used to promote the upcoming Nike Plus Human Race 10K. In sync with their overall marketing plan Nike has strategically placed these banner ads on websites where they anticipate runners and

athletes will see them. As an example, these include large banner ads placed on the homepages of both espn.com and running.net in the weeks leading up to the race. Publicity/Public Relations Programs In the recent past Nike has come under fire from the public and numerous consumer groups for their labor practices in international markets resulting, in wide ranging negative publicity. As a result it would seem that Nike might be more sensitive than most companies when trying to generate positive publicity, and recently they have implemented a charitable component to their Nike Plus integrated marketing campaign through the Human Race 10K. Nike has three primary charitable partners affiliated with the Nike Plus Human Race 10K: The Lance Armstrong Foundation, The World Wildlife Foundation, and The U.N. Refugee Agency. Nike is set to donate 3 million dollars to the three charities, and individual runners can choose which charity they would like to see their miles count towards when running. In unison with their IMC campaign to leverage the high interactive nature of the Nike Plus brand they are even involving participants with the charitable donation decision. In addition to this Nike is asking

each runner when they sign up if they would like to make a further contribution to any of these charities through a question on the on-line registration form. In conjunction with their Nike Plus integrated marketing communications program Nike has created and disseminated three press releases in 2008 that focused specifically on Nike Plus. One of the most important publics is the press . . . the source of the press release can do certain things to improve the likelihood that the news will be disseminated, such as ensuring that it reaches the right target audience, making it interesting, and making it easy to pass along (Belch and Belch 569). Since Nike is an approximately 28 billion dollar company with broad international appeal to consumers, investors, and business people, it is likely that there press releases are highly anticipated and widely disseminated, especially in the sports industry. Thus, Nike should be able to generate extensive publicity through their carefully crafted press releases. The Nike Plus press releases for 2008 coincides with the launch of their new Nike Plus Sportbrand product, the announcement of the Nike Plus Human Race 10K, and an announcement that Nike Plus and Apple are working in unison with gyms across the United

States to make their cardiovascular equipment compatible with Nike Plus products. These are all significant announcements, and Nike is correct in trying to generate essentially free publicity through press releases for these events. Event Marketing and Sponsorships As previously discussed in every recent facet of the Nike Plus integrated marketing communications plan Nike has made a concerted effort to promote their sponsorship of the Nike Plus Human Race 10K. In fact it appears that their entire current IMC plan for Nike Plus revolves around promotion of the event, and therefore it is apparent that event marketing is at least temporarily a primary component of the Nike Plus IMC plan. The Human Race 10K is large global event that is expected to attract over 1 million runners worldwide on August 31, 2008. Nike is holding the race in twenty-five cities spanning the entire globe, and they are also encouraging participants who cannot make it to any of these cities to run in their hometown and participate by tracking their progress with Nike Plus. The collective and interactive nature of the event is in line with other elements of Nike s recent IMC program for Nike Plus. Like their interactive website, which allows runners to connect with and challenge other runners worldwide, the race is being promoted as a way to be part of a large group. From the Nike Plus Press Release dated May 1, 2008: The Nike+ Human Race is about inspiring and connecting a million runners worldwide, said Trevor Edwards, Nike Vice President for Brand and Category Management. We re offering runners new ways to compete and race, courses through legendary landmarks, each ending with a headlining musical act. It s an unprecedented way for us to bring an entirely new running experience to consumers around the globe. In this respect some runners may see the race as a form of social networking where they can meet other runners in their area or talk with runners anywhere in the world about the race. The press release also discusses a promotional element of the race; a post race concert which will be held in each major city. The Human Race 10K also appeals to runners through the race s connection with various charities. The nikebiz.com website says As part of the Nike+ Human Race, runners will be able to run for a cause to help support and give back to the global community. The race has three designated charities: The Lance Armstrong Foundation, The World Wildlife Federation, and the U.N. Refugee Agency. When registering for the race on-line runners can select which charity they would like their miles to count toward, thus involving participants in the race with the decision and creating a further emotional attachment to the race. In addition, a Nike televisionspot and promotional appearances with Lance Armstrong parlay his image as an athlete and celebrity with the charitable aspect of the race to promote Nike Plus.

Although the Human Race 10K event has a promotional effect and a charitable component it is ultimately about advertising Nike Plus, selling Nike Plus products, and directing customers to the Nike Plus and Apple website. From the Nike + press release: Nikeplus.comwill be the official destination for the Nike+ Human Race and for all pre-race training needs. Here, runners can learn more about new training gear like the Nike Zoom Victory+, Nike s latest performance training shoe featuring Flywire, its lightest and strongest new footwear construction technology or stay motivated by checking out the latest Nike+ Sport Music offerings. Sport Music offers runners the best in original Training Run and Coaching Mixes designed specifically for treadmill and road runs. Therefore the race continues the theme of the integrated marketing communications plan that Nike has created for Nike Plus by trying to advertise and promote Nike Plus products to runners and move the sales needle. Viral Marketing Nike has seen viral marketing for the Nike Plus brand through various websites including YouTube. A recent search for Nike Plus on YouTube generated 402 hits, with the most popular video generating over 1,400,000 views. These videos take on various forms such as actual Nike Plus television commercials, consumer how to videos, and product reviews. One of the videos is even titled New Nike Plus Viral . In addition to the quantity of the videos and their popularity these videos appear to be well received by viewers who consistently rate them between four and five stars. Therefore Nike is definitely creating buzz for their products and brand through viral marketing, particularly on YouTube, and the promotion of their brand through these mediums falls in line with other elements of their IMC plan. Assessment/Recommendations In support of their Nike Plus line of products Nike has launched a comprehensive integrated marketing communications plan which utilizes a wide range of media platforms, marketing and advertising tools, and partnerships. As a large and well funded company with extensive marketing knowledge and resources it would be easy for Nike to simply enter each of these different arenas and outspend their competition in order to try and achieve success. However, Nike has been successful in leveraging their funding advantage to spend wisely and create an IMC campaign with a unified theme and far reaching implications. Although Nike has taken a different direction with their recent advertising around the Nike Plus Human Race 10K, they are still staying true to their overall goal of branding Nike Plus as a tool and product for all types of runners. At each step of implementation for their integrated marketing communication plan Nike has also emphasized the interactive nature of their product and website which has a direct correlation to the active mindset of runners and the action of running. As discussed extensively during the analysis of their IMC campaign Nike has

also been successful in staying true to a unified theme across all elements of their marketing mix, and they have maximized the value of their spending by creating cohesive campaigns across different platforms that work in harmony. Nike also made an excellent decision in partnering with Apple, since Apple and their iTunes music stores are strong brands seen as hip and at the cutting edge of technology, particularly amongst a younger demographic. After extensive analysis and careful consideration I would only make one recommendation to Nike regarding their Nike Plus integrated marketing communications plan. I believe that in their current mass media advertising for the Nike Plus Human Race 10K they should try to more effectively integrate Nike Plus product placement. Although I feel that the race is an excellent idea, which will ultimately help to strengthen the brand and moves the sales needle, the actual advertisements for the race do not have enough of a focus on the product itself. Therefore Nike might be at some risk of losing the chance to leverage the other elements of their comprehensive IMC program and product identification amongst people that only see these advertisements and do not already know the technology behind the Nike Plus line of products.