Nike’s Scorpion Knock Out Tour Kicks the Competition
To stand out from other footwear and apparel manufacturers launching new product lines to coincide with last summer’s World Cup, Nike created a Scorpion Knock Out (“SKO” for short) Tour to bring the new Scorpion shoe to life in the streets of Italy.
The campaign recreated a TV spot in which Nike-sponsored players competed in a secret game of three-on-three soccer inside the belly of an abandoned ship. The tour replicated the secret tournament in six Italian cities for consumers to participate in. (Replacing the ship was a large soccer cage housing a playing field in which teens battled each other.)
Tease Phase: To build initial mystery, the markets were invaded by graffiti teams. Stencils and stickers of the scorpion logo were placed in highly visible areas (barber shops, tattoo parlors, stadiums). Street activation teams on scooters and bikes later returned to the stencil scene to add the infamous Nike swoosh, thereby connecting the buzz with the brand.
Excite Phase: To get Italians worked up, exhibits duplicating a rusty, old cargo ship were positioned around high-traffic urban places three weeks before events, serving as pre-tourney promotional tools. The interiors had surround-sound systems to welcome visitors. “We did whatever it took to make sure consumers knew the tournament was coming to their town,” says Chris Bryan, vp-operations at St. Louis-based Relay.
A dedicated website went live, presenting updated tournament and registration information. Text-messages were shot to cell phones and emails were blasted to a database of soccer fans to generate interest.
Involve Phase: To inspire kids to show up, street teams ambushed 3,800 schools, 900 soccer clubs and 600 stadiums one week before the event.
And so it began last April, with 11 tournaments the crowds couldn’t tear themselves away from. Rules mandated a three-minute time limit, with three-player teams and no goaltender. First goal won. There were tournament brackets for four age groups (12-13, 14-15, 16-17, over 18). A stage with a dj, video games, Internet surf stations and appearances by Nike-sponsored players made it an affair to remember.
More than 199,000 spectators showed up to watch 126,000 players, besting registration goals by 35 percent. To deal with the higher-than-expected traffic, Relay created a last-minute Sudden Death Contest to quickly funnel registrants and qualify consumers for the matches.
Relay sent 270,000 total text messages and made 250,000 direct contacts via the faux cargo ships. Fifty-nine retailers in the six markets got on board with P-O-P and player appearances. Grand total: 575,000 one-to-one interactions. Goal! Goal!