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It would be virtually impossible to not know about Nike and their impact on the athletic footwear and sportswear market. One of their most iconic campaigns is the “Just Do It” campaign, which challenged people all over the world to use Nike’s products to achieve greatness within themselves. In the 1980s Nike heavily relied on using iconic athletes as the face of their brand, with the NBA legend Michael Jordan being the most memorable example. As a result, the “Air Jordan” signature shoes were born, but it wouldn’t have been the same without this accompanying commercial.

Nike used video as their main channel to position iconic athletes, such as Michael Jordan, as the face of their brand. They never lost their love for video. Instead, in 2005 Nike started shifting their focus towards social media, with YouTube being their most prominent channel. It is there they discovered people’s love for sharing content with their friends, and found a powerful tool for free promotion. One of Nike’s first YouTube videos to go viral showed a trick shot made by the famous soccer player Ronaldinho, and people shared the ad left and right.

What separated Nike from other brands was their unique approach to video marketing: they did not sell a physical product, they sold their brand. They wanted new people to buy into the wonderful world of Nike. Over the years Nike had picked up on new online video trends, and slowly but surely they started dominating the world of online video.

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Unlimited You

In 2016 Nike released their “Unlimited” video ad campaign, a campaign that consisted of 23 videos portraying the importance of persistence and mental power through iconic athletes’ success stories. The campaign’s core principle was Nike’s slogan: “Just Do It”. This campaign proved to be extremely effective for Nike’s brand image. Check out Serena William’s feature below:

Nike used a very simple video strategy on a large scale to create a great amount of content around their core message, “Just Do It”. By doing this, Nike maximized the potential value they could gain from the campaign. Although Nike used gigantic budgets for this campaign, there is still much to learn from their video marketing strategy. Let’s analyze their strategy and see what we, as video marketers, can learn from it.

Building Upon The Campaign

Nike had created mini documentaries conveying the stories of iconic athletes, but that’s not all they did. They decided to create another  series of videos: thematic shorts. Each thematic short conveyed its own unique message. This thematic short was titled “Unlimited Fight”, it’s a video that emphasizes the need to ‘fight back’ when people don’t want you to succeed. It’s a message that could apply to many people, so it was easily relatable.

The goal of the thematic shorts was to speak to unique buyer profiles and create a deeper connection between them and Nike.  Nike then followed it up with this epic video, building up to this long form commercial that entertains and wows the entire way through.

It seems like Nike assigned a different goal to every stage. The first stage gave people an inside look at other people’s stories: they were confronted with the many obstacles each one of us may have to deal with during our lifetimes. The second stage offered solutions to people to help overcome those obstacles, and the third and final stage brought everyone together by emphasizing the unity we all represent.

Nike taught us an invaluable lesson with this campaign: be creative and you will find new ways to maximize the value you gain from your video marketing efforts. Building upon your campaigns on a large scale, just like Nike did with this campaign, is a great example of creative thinking.


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