Jenny Chan 陳詠欣
Aug 3, 2012

Nike adds localised twist to Olympics ambush marketing tactic for China

CHINA - Nike has ambushed Adidas in its latest Olympics-related campaign without openly using the Olympic rings logo but scraping the sides of the Games with references to locations with the word 'London' in its ad; and also adds social-media-driven marketing value for its brand in the Chinese market.

Adidas is an official sponsor of the 2012 Olympic Games in London, but Nike launched its 'Find Your Greatness' global campaign (No. 6 in our list of top Olympics TVs), which cleverly uses places around the world named "London" but not actually the London where the games are taking place.

Some of the 'Londons' in the ad include:

-East London, South Africa

-Little London, Jamaica

-City of London, Ohio

-London School, Qatar

-London Bridge over Lake Havasu, Arizona

Now the Nike commercial, at the heart of the global campaign, has been localised for the Chinese market, and its impact warmed up with a social-media driven strategy. Nike has strategically played into Chinese nationalistic sentiment with emotionally-charged translated copy of the slogan 'Find Your Greatness'.

In particular, Chinese netizens on Sina Weibo have been fed a rapid-fire stream of Nike-branded reactions to actual developments involving Chinese athletes in various sports.

Following tennis player Li Na's loss to Daniela Hantuchova from Slovakia in the first round of the women's singles, for example, Nike posted a picture (below) with the text "The opposite of greatness is not failure, but an unwillingness to fight".

When 16-year-old swimmer Ye Shiwen shaved seven seconds off the last record in the 400-meter individual medley and caused suspicion of drug usage due to her dominating performance at such a young age, Nike reacted by saying "They may doubt your performance, but cannot diminish your greatness".
When Yi Siling won the women's 10-metre air rifle competition, and her counterpart Yu Dan earned only the bronze medal and thus out of the media spotlight, Nike consoled Yu with "They may not recall your name, but will remember your greatness".

When the Kunming Metropolis Times labelled weightlifter Zhou Jun "a national disgrace" for failing to complete three snatch attempts in the 53-kg category, Nike retaliated with "Sometimes greatness is not about winning the championship, but about winning respect".


When Wang Hao had to settle for silver for a third successive Olympics after defeated by his teammate Zhang Jike in the men's table tennis singles final match, Nike egged him on with "Three silver medals represent your three determined tries for gold".


When Guo Shuang and Gong Jinjie were relegated to second place in track cycling after being disqualified for a lane change, Nike retorted with "Referees can decide your final results, but cannot ascertain your greatness".

The China leg of the campaign is executed by 'Team Nike', a roster of four agencies: Wieden+Kennedy, Mindshare, AKQA, Razorfish.


Campaign China

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