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SOMETHING SPECIAL FOR NIKE
MELODY LEIBNER & EMILY KAGAN
COVER ART: JULIANNA LUKACS
In 2018, Nike hired Something Special Studios to create a marketing campaign for the launch of Nike’s “The 1 Reimagined'' collection. The SSS team delivered Nike a campaign featuring reimagined basketball jerseys in the form of ball gowns. This campaign was the start of Nike’s career as SSS’s biggest client, where SSS worked on projects like the Off-White “Home Field” to promote Nike x Off-White “Football, Mon Amour'' collection and a digital experience to support the launch of the book, “Nike: Better Is Temporary.” SSS is a creative company that offers strategy, creative, and production services to “forward-thinking people and brands.” Since “The 1 Reimagined'' in 2018, Nike has been SSS’s biggest client, perhaps because of the SSS’s consumercentric business model: building experiences for the consumer, to turn a single idea into an elaborate marketing campaign that aims to push viewers to “think a bit differently.” Nike’s loyalty is no surprise as company values align with SSS in regards to innovation and social change.
This past June, SSS curated an album for Nike that blended music, guided yoga, and spatial audio for the launch of the new social media campaign: @nikeyoga Instagram. Nike’s vision was to celebrate the creation of a more inclusive yoga space with a “disruptive moment that could be enjoyed by all.” SSS took this vision and created Sound & Flow Yoga, an album by Nike. The creative company consistently pushes beyond the boundaries of their projects, one example being the album’s 3D spatial audio. This aspect of the album focused on creating a fully immersive practice, guided by yoga trainer Fabian Domenech. Launched on June 20th to celebrate International Yoga Day on the 21st, the album promoted movement, relaxation and, more broadly, the Nike brand.
SSS also worked with Nike in collaboration with Serena Williams; this digital campaign was created in order to “inspire the next generation of female athletes both on and off the court.” Yet, some of Nike’s most recent sponsorship partners do not score goals, hold racquets, or shoot baskets at all. #TeamNike has taken over the internet, and one rep has stood out in particular: Serena Fucking Kerrigan. Typically known as the Queen of Confidence, and an influencer with almost 140K followers on instagram, the Nike ad posted to her not so athletic feed prompted an immediate double-take. In the promo, SFK sports a baby pink blazer with a matching Nike athleisure set underneath, and to finish off the look, she flaunts a pair of fresh, white swooshed sneakers. The video features SFK running all over NYC going on dates, taking photos, shopping, and working—but the emphasis falls on her perfectly sporty yet fashion forward fit. Historically, Nike has primarily sponsored the best of the best-including countless 2020 olympic athletes-but it seems they may be shifting some of their focus. Just days after the release of SFK's campaign, she was seen on an Instagram Live with none other than tennis legend Venus Williams to discuss all things Nike. Although the two may have little in common when it comes to career paths, they are both ambitious women with busy schedules; Nike provides them comfort and confidence.
These marketing strategies do not go unnoticed: between Jordans, Converse, and Nike, the company brings in a revenue now inching towards $40 billion. Interestingly enough, a huge portion of their sales are from their premier “lifestyle” shoe: the AirForce1. Designed to take on any task, this everyday sneaker makes nearly $800 million every year, and by 2030 it is projected that another 100 million pairs will be sold. The brand is also sure to share their success; they have donated around $100 million in proceeds to give back to “people, the planet, and play.”
At the end of Kerrigan’s campaign, she looks into the camera and says, “Dating is my sport. What’s yours?” Whether it be grocery shopping, studying, or soccer, Nike’s impeccable marketing has us convinced that no matter what your sport is, it is Something Special with a swoosh.