Last weekend Nike pulled off the seemingly impossible–no, it didn’t help a marathoner break the two-hour mark–but it did put on an event compelling enough to get people to watch what amounts to a two-hour sneaker commercial.
“Breaking 2” was a live broadcast across social media, where the brand enlisted runners Eliud Kipchoge, Zersenay Tadese, and Lelisa Desisa to attempt to break the two-hour marathon barrier on a closed Formula One track in Italy, wearing its specially engineered Nike Zoom Vaporfly Elite, with carbon-fiber plating for added propulsion. It was like Red Bull Stratos for the running crowd.
Ultimately, the effort fell short of its stopwatch goal–the fastest time was Kipchoge’s at 2:00:25, beating the current world record by two minutes and 32 seconds. But in terms of brand marketing, this was a hit.
According to Brandwatch, Nike had nearly 600,000 mentions on social media, with the hashtag #Breaking2 being used more than 400,000 times, garnering more than 2 trillion impressions. Next up? Well, Adidas may have congratulated the swoosh on its effort, but the German sports giant is working on its own marathon project set for later this year. On your mark, get set, advertise . . . Onward!
What: A sports marketing event in which Nike attempted to design a shoe that would help marathoners break the two-hour mark.
Who: Nike, Wieden+Kennedy, Dirty Robber
Why We Care: Uh, see the intro above. The TLDR version? Making cool content that people actually want to watch, that also happens to naturally tie back into your brand and product, is always a good idea.
Interflora “The Great Mom Experiment”
What: Just in time for Mother’s Day, an unconventional take on a pretty conventional ad technique.
Who: Interflora, Brandhouse
Why We Care: The ol’ candid camera, add in some emotions, cue the waterworks. It gets used because it works. You’ve seen the Facebook updates. But here the Danish brand takes this concept to its inevitable end, with a perfect spoof of the advertising social experiment.
KFC “Tender Wings of Desire”
What: A 96-page romance novella “written” by Colonel Sanders, and available on Amazon as a free e-book for Mother’s Day. Yes, for real.
Who: KFC, Wieden + Kennedy Portland
Why We Care: The Colonel is apparently not just the jolly old fried chicken genius we all took him to be. Could it be that Colonel Sanders is more like another courtly Colonel than we might be comfortable with? Only your mom will know . . . if she reads it.
Movistar “Love Story”
What: A Mexican telecom ad that’s also a cautionary tale that will make you second-guess who’s on the other end of that text.
Who: Movistar, Y&R Mexico
Why We Care: So creepy, and so effective in communicating an important message. As the tagline says, “150 million fake profiles live on social media. Not everyone is who you think they are.” As advertising goes, this is a pretty good way to illustrate your brand values.
Polaroid Eyewear “The Fishbowl”
What: Forget the instant cameras, this is a fun, short history lesson on how Polaroid first became a household name.
Who: Polaroid Eyewear, Ming Utility And Entertainment Group
Why We Care: It’s tough to think of this brand without only thinking about James Garner and Mariette Hartley . . . or the Instagram logo. Here, the new campaign digs into the company’s roots to promote Polaroid Eyewear (now owned by Italy-based parent company Safilo). Sure, it’s just an ad, but a damn good-looking one thanks to director Nacho Gayan and cinematographer Stephane Fontaine (Jackie, Captain Fantastic). Plus, pretty cool fish trick.