Move over, Michael Jordan: here comes P-Rod. In an attempt to leave no sport unmarketed, Nike, the sports apparel manufacturer, is beginning the next phase of its current “Just Do It” campaign with a focus on action sports like skateboarding, snowboarding and surfing.
The new campaign, called “The Chosen,” is Nike’s largest effort at moving into action sports, and features athletes like the skateboarder Paul Rodriguez (or P-Rod), the surfer Laura Enever and the snowboarder Danny Kass. “When we looked at action sports, we saw a unique consumer segment that was underserved in terms of product innovation,” Mark G. Parker, Nike’s chief executive and president, said at a shareholder meeting.
Action sports are a $390 million business for Nike, and executives hope that figure doubles over the next five years. Nike’s biggest competitors in the youth-oriented action sports arena include brands like Quiksilver, O’Neill, Volcom and Billabong.
Big brands that want to enter the action sports market have to contend with the somewhat insular culture of certain sports and with the athletes’ loyalty to smaller, edgier brands. For the last few years, Nike has been on a steady mission to penetrate the market by creating sub-brands like Nike 6.0 and buying smaller brands like Hurley.
And they seem to be getting it right.
“They did their homework,” said Bernie Baker, the former Hawaii editor at Surfer Magazine and the contest director for the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, who cited Nike’s “relentless promotion of youth events” as one of the driving factors in the brand’s success. “When that logo is on the deck of a surfboard, from 200 yards away it’s the same as a Quiksilver logo. You recognize that design.” Nike began teasing the campaign in early May with a 30-second version of the commercial online. Viewers who watched the short could respond to a Facebook page for the campaign debut when a three-minute and 30-second version of the commercial will be shown followed by a 23-minute behind-the-scenes film. The spot, which was created by the agency 72andSunny and directed by Lance Acord, shows the athletes performing at night in locations like