Nike’s Footrace Campaign Revives One Hit Wonders
Admit it: You were wondering what the heck happened to Tone Loc, years after “Funky Cold Medina.” Lucky for you, Nike unleashed its Run Hit Wonder 5K and 10K races.
Recognizing there was no national platform of less-than-marathon races, Nike saw an opportunity and seized it. A Run Hit Wonder event might best be described—depending on your fitness level—either as a running event with a very unusual soundtrack in the background, or as a very unusual concert at which the only drawback is having to jog a few hundred yards to hear the next song. At each race, six where-are-they-now music acts played along the route, and at a post-race concert.
The concept was a hit, not only for the other performers (A Flock of Seagulls, Tommy Tutone and General Public, to name a few), but among runners, too. All four races sold out, with 10,000 or more runners registering for races in Chicago, New York City and Portland, and more than 20,000 signing up for the Los Angeles event.
One of Nike’s goals was to create a platform that would allow the brand to reach both high-level athletes and weekend warriors. “What better way to make those two groups meet in the middle than by incorporating music,” says Chris Bryan, vp-operations at Relay Sponsorship and Event Marketing, which coordinated the program. (Nike developed the concept in-house.) “The real hook is the social setting and the idea of socializing with friends who enjoy music and want to be in shape as well.”
To take advantage of the social opportunities and extend the brand’s presence in market, Nike backed training sessions for weeks leading up to each event, tapping into retailers and local running clubs.
For its part, Nike is working to make sure the series itself isn’t a one-hit wonder. The 2005 four-pack of races starts next month.