Nike recently released their “Equality” campaign. It’s raw. It’s gut-wrenching. And it uses some of the best professional athletes out there including LeBron James, Serena Williams, Kevin Durant, Gabby Douglas and many more. The spot “encourages people to take the fairness and respect they see in sport and translate them off the field,” according to a press release. The ad joins a group of brands making statements around Super Bowl LI about politics, equality, and much more, but Nike takes its statement and shows that sports can be the great equalizer.
We have seen this time and time again in sports and sports content creation. When five college guys can come together and create DudePerfect, which now has over 15 million followers on YouTube alone. Or when Indi Cowie can be an inspiration to young girls as she gives freestyle soccer her own twist. Or when Kevin Curry from Fit Men Cook can leave his job in corporate America and use social media to explore healthy cooking, eating and lifestyles. Or B.U.F.F. Dudes who are creating healthy food recipes and gym workouts, while injecting humor in everything they do. There are plenty more examples but what the industry has seen is that sports, whether played by professional athletes, social sports influencers or just the average person at home, can be played and enjoyed by just about everyone.
Howard Schultz, the founder of Starbucks and a previous owner of the NBA team, the Seattle SuperSonics (now the Oklahoma City Thunder), when speaking about growing up in Brooklyn, N.Y., said that, "Sports was a great equalizer. It didn't have color. It didn't matter whether you were rich or poor, black or white. It really shaped me in many ways to be able to deal with a lot of different personalities and different cultures. Sports were the common thread."
This notion that sports can be played by all is evident in many elements of pop culture. One of the most iconic sports movie, “The Sandlot,” proves it. All you need is a ball, a couple of gloves, a dusty lot and your buddies, to get a game going.
But what does this all mean for marketers? Create a moving campaign like Nike’s? Well, that might be part of the equation. But more than that, millennial sports fans want to be heard, to be liked, to collaborate, to be entertained, to laugh, to create, to share, to connect and to be a part of the experience, according to our research.
These tenants might seem simple enough.
Connect millennial sports fans with authentic content on platforms where they are already watching and engaging. That means meeting them on their screens. On the social platforms that they are already using, whether that YouTube or Facebook or somewhere else. With content that they want to share with their friends, family and the rest of their network.