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Dec 08, 2009
How To

How Nike Used Interactive Video to Draw Crowds at Sporting Events

SUMMARY: When you sponsor a sporting event, your booth is rarely a main attraction. So it needs to stand out from the crowd -- and the entertainment -- to make an impression on consumers.

See how Nike 6.0 got thousands of event attendees to take a break from the action at surfing/skateboarding/BMX events and spend some time in their branded tent. Their secret? A part-virtual, part-interactive video strategy.
Stephanie Derham, Brand Connections Manager, Nike 6.0, needed to connect the action-sports brand with the young, skateboard/surf/BMX crowd. So it made perfect sense when they sponsored the 2008 Dew Tour -- the most watched and attended action sports series in the world -- and the 2008 US Open of Surfing.

With athletes amazing the crowd at these events, the team knew they had to go the extra mile to pull attendees to their marketing booth.

"We were definitely looking for ways to connect on the ground with our consumers," says Derham. "We wanted them to walk away with an experience that would make them talk about 6.0."

Their solution was a high-tech presence that combined augmented reality -- a combination of live video and interactive graphics -- with a product-giveaway contest and print display advertising. For example, visitors received a special card that activated a video slot machine to determine their prize.

This "wow-factor" pulled crowds away from the sports action:
o More than 15,000 visitors played the interactive game during the five-stop Dew Tour
o More than 10,000 visitors played the game at the US Open of Surfing.

We spoke with Derham to learn how the team developed a fresh event-marketing presence, and how they extended that experience after the fact. Here are the steps they followed:

Step #1. Design a tent with interactive video

The teamís Dew Tour and US Open of Surfing sponsorships included a physical presence at each stop.

They created a large, circular tent with black and florescent orange colors that would stand out at large, outdoor events.

Inside the tent, they set up two technology stations:

- 3D Slot Machine

When visitors first arrived to the tent, they were given a scratch card with the chance to win a gift certificate for a pair of shoes, or a branded prize of lesser value, such as a bandana or hat.

The card also activated the interactive video: When visitors held the card in front of a webcam in front of a large flat screen TV, an image of the card appeared on the screen and morphed into a digital slot machine. After a countdown, the slot machine wheels began spinning. If three matching images appeared, the visitor won a gift card for Nike 6.0 shoes.

"As you lined up to do the slot machine, we had placards set up that showed you step-by-step instructions on how to hold this up in front of the webcam," Derham says.

- Athlete videos

At a separate station, visitors could hold up an advertisement from the Dew Tourís spectator guide in front of the camera. On screen, the ad morphed into one of several videos featuring Nike 6.0-sponsored athletes.

Step #2. Drive traffic to the tent

The team mostly relied on word-of-mouth at the events to draw people into the tent.

Here are two other ways they helped spread the word:

- Print advertising

The team ran advertising in spectator programs to help draw attention and foot traffic. The ads activated videos at the stations in the tents.

- Prizes for everyone

Every scratch card awarded a prize of -- at minimum -- a free branded hat or bandana. The prizes were the same bright orange color used for the tent. The team gave away enough freebies to create an noticeable visual impression in the crowd at some of the events.

"At the US Open [of Surfing], it was just a sea of florescent orange at the event. Kids were sending their friends back to try it out," Derham says.

At some events, the team had lines of attendees circling the tent, waiting for a chance to take part in the promotion.

Here are the number of people who participated, and the number of prizes the team awarded for each stop on the Dew Tour:
o Chicago - 2,340 players, 30 winners
o Boston - 1,980 players, 12 winners
o Portland - 3,270 players, 36 winners
o Salt Lake City - 3,844 players, 36 winners
o Orlando - 3,844 players, 32 winners

Step #3. Incorporate website

The team wanted to give attendees a way to continue their experience with Nike 6.0 after the event. To do so, they offered a downloadable program from their website that allowed visitors to use home webcams to relive the video experience.

The team published a blog post to highlight the effort. It featured:
o Five steps to follow
o Downloadable print ads
o Downloadable application

Once visitors had the program up and running, they could cycle through four different videos using their keyboards.

The team included a call-to-action on the scratch card to remind visitors to check their website to view the interactive athlete videos.

Useful links related to this article

Creative Samples from Nike 6.0ís interactive video tent

Total Immersion: Built the video experience

Nike 6.0
See Also:

Comments about this How To

Dec 08, 2009 - Subir Kumedan of Agency says:
I think it was the free pair of Nike shoes that was the main draw, not the interactive video. For a free pair of Nike shoes, most people would have done a basic scratch-off card. If it is really about the interactive video then the real questions are: 1. How many people visited the "Ads" station and viewed the ads (assuming the ads were simply not running in a loop automatically) 2. how many downloaded the program to their computers? 3. How many videos were watched online? Otherwise this was just a giveaway that would have worked in any form, and not an interactive video "case study".

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