A CASE STUDY: How Nike Won 2016 With Video Marketing... and How You Can, Too!

Pop up this link before we go any further: Nike Unlimited Series (Playlist)

Last year Nike released an ad called "Unlimited You". Behind a light-hearted, compelling, and conversational voice-over we see footage of "average" people practicing - most poorly - their sport. The video takes a turn after the seeming end tag line into people “Just Doing It” in situations they should NEVER be in or be able to accomplish. Slo-mo and glory shots bring us from "average" people to professional athletes and back, seemingly putting both types of people into a category of success in their pursuit.

That add on it's own is arguably enough to win Nike top honors in the video category for 2016... but then we take a deeper look."Unlimited You" is a great add... made up primarily of footage from a number of other spots - 22 others, to be exact - in a video campaign called the, "Unlimited" series. Here's how they executed the production:



This is video marketing at it's core: maximizing assets out of a production to execute many projects out of a general scope. Nike's campaign followed a very simple formula (granted, on a large scale and huge stage) to create an enormous amount of content around a single concept: "Just Do It" - You Are Unlimited. Sound familiar?

The good news, though, is while companies like Nike benefit in fantastic production quality and quantity of deliverable because of their enormous budgets, you can still learn how to mimic the success (from a production perspective) of this campaign and emulate it in your own efforts regardless of the size of your production budget. Below is an example - not of the only way to make the magic happen, but - of the most common path we use to execute video marketing campaigns:

1. Create Mini Docs
Nike created compelling 1-3min mini-documentaries on a number of athletes. They seem to be interview-based with some definite scripting. For the most part, there is no interview video, just the layered audio over very beautifully shot B-Roll (footage other than interview footage) of the athlete.

These spots all build towards a climax point - why they do what they do and how nothing gets in the way of that sacrifice. At that point, Nike shows their campaign tag "Unlimited" with a scroll starting with the athletes name, various adjectives describing their story (likely what the scripting points were built off of), and then, right on the final downbeat, their logo appears.

2. Utilize Mini-Doc Footage In Thematic Shorts
The footage captured in the many, many mini-docs were then combined into various thematic videos. They were titled with, "Unlimited Fight", "Unlimited Pursuit", "Unlimited Greatness" and so on. Each of these videos takes a slightly different tempo, works to speak to a unique buyer profile, and even incorporate - at times - specific products Nike is looking to feature.

Perhaps the most notable part of these videos is their cost... considering production had been, for the most part, concluded and pre-production paid for; Nike had only to work out the editing costs associated with creating micro-stories out of footage they now own and can repurpose.

3. Capture Additional B-Roll and Create a Campaign Header Video
This is the video we were originally talking about. This is where most companies would start and end their campaign, leaving themselves with only one deliverable and crossed fingers. As you can see after watching even just a few of the other assets in the campaign; much of the footage - if not all of it - was already captured and utilized in other ways as well; maximizing their budget and deliverables.

4. Expand Reach on Social with Additional Assets (stills, audio, #hashtag campaigns, etc)
We won't belabour this point - but Nike launched many social campaigns alongside their video efforts. They included things like stills and audio tracks encouraging people to get involved and to tag Nike. Much of the collateral for this campaign was very likely developed during the production phase of these videos.

Nike won 2016, in our books, because of their excellent job of taking smaller videos and using parts of content to make a larger video... and they did so by reverse engineering their campaign and framing production from the beginning to most effectively accomplish their end goal. The result was creatively finding ways to go even further than simply mini-docs (which were great on their own) by segmenting into virtues like: “courage”, “greatness”, “fight”, “pursuit”, etc. 

If you want to start strategizing now, reference this PDF: Video Campaign Creative Brief. For more information in general, check out a few of our helpful videos HERE!

Do you like what you just read? This is a but snippet of our 2017 Video Marketing Guide - you can download the full thing for free, HERE!

Ready to start your campaign? Contact us HERE!

Hunter Smith