The Nike ‘Imperius’ Effect


Pretty sure the Nike teams have the Elder Wand at their marketing disposal.

The Nike spell has been cast with unrelenting force over the globe, now subject to the unforgivable Imperius Curse, causing unyielding focus on the brand.

Let’s start with Colin Kaepernick. Having made social media headlines for kneeling while the American anthem was sung at the 2016 National Football League, Nike’s pronouncement of standing for something rather than falling for anything, unleashed the wrath of sneaker-heads worldwide; at the same time gathering a renewed fervour of absolute support for the mega corporation.

Nike added roughly 170,000 Instagram followers around the timing of the release of its ad campaign, Wedbush Securities analyst Christopher Svezia said in a research note Friday.

  Graphic courtesy of TalkWalker

The analytics company Talkwalker went on to say in a release that more than 5.2 million social posts related to the Nike/Kaepernick campaign were generated between Monday and Wednesday when the campaign was released.

And further insight from social media management system Sprinklr show the following stats on the Nike – Colin Kaepernick campaign.

  • According to Sprinklr, Nike received 3.4 million brand mentions from Sept. 3 through Sept. 4. Colin Kaepernick came in at 1.5 million mentions over the same period of time.
  • #JustDoIt, the hashtag tied to the Kaepernick campaign, was mentioned 429,874 times.
  • Hashtag use represented both sides of the social media debate. #BoycottNike and #Nikeboycott had 69,257 and 53,195 mentions from Sept. 3 through Sept. 4, respectively

  How you doing adidas & Under Armour?

Let’s come back home for a moment to South Africa.

Caster Semenya, South Africa’s 800m Olympic and World Champion has walked into the 30 year celebratory Hall of Fame with super athletes like LeBron James and Serena Williams. Earning her very own #JustDoit Campaign, the video went viral once it was posted on 10 September. It quickly earned 16 000 likes on Caster’s Twitter post alone with nearly 7000 people talking about it in real-time.

With the female force strong in the Nike camp, tennis superstar Serena Williams has been bringing the warrior spirit to the court, challenging the long standing dress code of the sport by pirouetting in tutus and prancing in catsuits. Courtesy of Nike…. And then there’s the campaign with her Dad – a tearful throwback to the rise of the Queen of the Court.

  To date the Nike’s response Twitter post has been liked over 170,000 times and retweeted more than 75,000 times.

What does this say about Nike’s social media and marketing genius?

With around 300 social media accounts to cater to different products and audiences, Nike’s marketing team have fashioned the Holy Grail of advocacy and demand from superstar endorsements with heart wrenchingly beautiful video and image storytelling.

In an interview with FastCompany, Jackie Thomas, U.S. Brand Marketing Director for Women said, “Marketers spend too much time reminding women that they’re women.” As a woman, after watching Nike’s commercial, I feel the need to get up and do something different, something amazing that may have never crossed my mind before. Often, messaging depicts women as weak and fearful. Nike breaks down that wall and reminds everyone that women are powerful, competitive and most importantly, passionate!

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