February 21, 2012

Nike's Digital Revolutiion

We ad contras are always being accused of being anti-digital or pro-traditional. In fact, we are not anti-anything except failure and bullshit. We are not pro-anything except success and truth.

Unfortunately, so much of digital advocacy is simply assertions without proof, nonsensical pronouncements about the death of this or the end of that, and anecdotes that prove nothing, that we are often put in the position of appearing to be anti-digital.

One of the things I am always looking for here at The Ad Contrarian is evidence of mainstream, non-web native companies who have transitioned out of traditional advertising into digital advertising successfully. Recently I read about one such company. That company is Nike.

According to a story in CNN Money 
"There's barely any media advertising these days for Nike," says Brian Collins, a brand consultant and longtime Madison Avenue creative executive.

Says Jon Bond, co-founder of Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal & Partners who now runs a social media agency: "Clearly they think they can get by without big television campaigns anymore."
According to the writer of the story… 
“They're quietly engineering a revolution in marketing.” 
“So is it working?” is the question that the article poses. Instead of sales data, they give us a quote from some executive director of something or other. Nonetheless, the stock price has been growing nicely so I guess it is fair to assume that sales have been good.

The only problem with the article is that it gives us numbers but fails to give context to the numbers. Here is some context:
  • Nike’s marketing budget is 2.4 billion dollars. Yes with a b.
  • Nike spent over 800 million last year on non-traditional advertising alone
  • According to the article, Nike spends over 10% of its sales on marketing
  • Virtually every pro or college sporting event on TV features athletes wearing the Nike logo
  • Nike’s digital marketing division alone has 200 employees
While Nike’s transition from traditional advertiser to digital marketer may prove to be a big step in proving the concept, I’m afraid at this point their experience doesn’t contain much that is relevant to the average company.

With a $2.4 billion marketing budget, I'm pretty sure they could do nothing but door hangers and hooter wobblers and be successful.

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