Forever the dilemma of a global brand strategist; how local is too local, how global is too global? Driving relevancy and cut through to your audience is the bare minimum you should be doing with ANY output you have from your brand. But then, creating stuff is expensive.
With increased expectations and slashed budgets, we trudge through meetings about ROI and sales uplift, back-to-back with creative pitches where it’s going to cost more than your car is worth to make one video piece for social.
I’m not diminishing the value of fresh and well produced creative. Brands that do this are the only ones that thrive in a social environment where content is consumed and forgotten in a grand total of about 6 minutes. Which means that I also understand the pressure to bleed the budget for every penny it’s worth. Chop and cut things so that you can use them in all the possible ways you can before you hit creative burnout. It’s a hard balance.
This brings me to my advert of the week. Nike has launched a tremendously shot, three minute epic with a very local focus: London.
My inner client gasps at the production budget that must be chained to a piece like this – my agency self gleeful that a brand is willing to invest something chunky enough to create an ad this great.
This all begs the question though – what is the strategy here? Nike are by no means a stranger to tactical local content – actually they are a brilliant example of excelling in different markets (largely through curated experiences), whilst keeping the overall creative integrity of the brand.
I would be extremely surprised however if Nike moved forward and made several ads within the same vein of the above – this is a spearhead piece; the big money splash. Therefore that is entirely at odds with the singular market focus depicted. It’s not even a country focus – it’s a city focus.
I respect the vigour with which they have executed the ad – I don’t doubt that it will be held aloft as a searing example of creative vision in brand advertising – given prominence in many a mood-film thrust into a creative pitch.
I can’t help but feel there is an arrogance in the strategy though. A broad assumption that it will drive relevance rather than ambivalence with an audience that extends wider than zone 6. London, after all, is a bubble; you’re either very much in or you’re out.
“Last year the company identified 12 cities – New York, London, Shanghai, Beijing, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Paris, Berlin, Mexico City, Barcelona, Seoul and Milan – as its biggest growth opportunities. Nike expects 80% of its growth to come from this urban shortlist over the next three years.” – Mark Ritson, Marketing Week
Maybe that’s the point. Nike being such a powerhouse can afford to dump their entire production budget into one London-sized hole and not worry too much about ROI.