Nike, a brand built on
hero worship, has gotten downright inelegant. Now, fans at extreme-sports events can sit on a toilet seat in a branded porta-potty and get a bucket of water thrown in their faces. Nike films the
splash in high-production slo-mo and posts the edited, branded videos on a social media app, where kids can watch it, comment and share. The booth debuted at the two-day AST Dew Tour in Portland, Ore.
Within a few weeks, one fellow had watched the video of himself 227 times. If he buys 277 pairs of sneakers, they might be onto something.
It's the latest effort by Nike 6.0, the
division that targets the X-Games crowd. The idea began with TV ads, by Nemo Design, that showed Nike-sponsored surfers Dusty Payne and Casey Brown splashing through waves in slo-mo. Then, "to
bring our TV work on the ground and reinforce our brand as inclusive," the potties were hatched, says Stephanie Derham, Nike 6.0 brand manager.
Working with TAOW Productions - which
contributed the outhouse setting and the "Splashcast" social application - Nike added experiential and Web 2.0 elements. Within three weeks, there had been about 10,000 views of clips and
44,000 installations of the app.
All of which means that Nike athlete-heroes are being, well, demoted to carnival barkers nabbing passers-by. "Our athletes are a conduit of 6.0 brand
engagement," says Derham. "It's a different way to use them."
Michael Phelps, are you listening?