Nike. Reebok. Adidas. Boy – how exciting it must be to be part of those MegaBrand marketing teams. Gigantic ad budgets. Glitzy full-page ads. SuperBowl commercials. But how do you compete when you’re #3 – the underdog?
I couldn’t help but notice the shocking imagery on the screen while watching Monday Night Football, when the recent Adidas “#thereturn” ad came on. Derrick Rose is amazing but I’m no Chicago Bulls fan, so the fact that I kept watching is in itself a testament to the power of video marketing. Who could look away from the heart-pounding images of Rose’s season-ending knee injury while the voice of the announcer says, “…holding on..holding onto his knee…and down…“?
I’m a Lakers fan, to set the record straight. Regardless, everybody roots for the underdog – the comeback kid – the one fraught with challenges and lots of hard work to do. Hence, the hashtag “#thereturn” Adidas’ marketers chose for their Twitter handle. Really clever – easy to remember, and all over the campaign to prime the social media pump throughout.
Rose takes the viewer thru his surgery and agonizing rehab. It reminded me a bit of how I felt watching “Rocky” for the first time. Seeing Rose at a low point as he watches his team in the NBA playoffs is when the hook is finally set. By now viewers are “all in”, pulling for Rose’s comeback, feeling like we’re all in this together. Video content marketing doing its thing, once again.
It’s not until episode #4 that we’re finally introduced what Rose is pitching. And in episode #5 the messages are now about what’s truly important to Rose – his family and what drives him to be better. About hard, painful work – and what it takes to be a winner. By now, we are ready to hear the pitch – we need to hear it, so we can conquer this thing together. I almost feel like buying his shoes now (if it comes in a Lakers theme, that is). [UPDATED: great prediction/post by @BrennerMichael re: Take the Brand Out of the Story]
Ha! That’s exactly why I felt compelled to write this post. At ElectrifyMedia, we’ve done some elaborate video marketing campaigns – but nothing of this scope. And our target cutomers usually don’t have the 8-figure budgets of Adidas, either.
But it’s all relative. Adidas’ marketing team faced huge challenges – the Swoosh with huge marketshare and deep pockets. See this article about Adidas’ paltry 5% US Basketball shoe market share vs Nike’s 92%. Here’s an excerpt:
[Derrick] Rose and Adidas are fighting an uphill battle against the Swoosh. Nike commands 92% of the U.S. basketball shoe market year-to-date…
And a clip from Adidas’ 2011 Annual Report:
adidas is committed to strengthening its position in basketball by expanding its footprint…
To achieve this, adidas Basketball strives to build brand equity by… capitalising on relationships with some of the most promising stars of the NBA, such as 2011 MVP Derrick Rose
And that’s the beauty of it all. Though a MegaBrand, they’re the underdog. Adidas’ must fight smart – with effective marketing. Any smart marketing team – that faces difficult competitive challenges – can rise above, following the same tried and true inbound marketing formulas and principles to engage, entertain, inform, and build a target audience relationship with. And turn them into customers. It’s proven. It works.
Medium-sized business who partner with a successful, creative inbound marketing agency may get started with smaller budgets. The skilfully produced content marketing materials don’t all need to be lavishly produced mini-documentaries. Remarkable content can be in the form of “championship-worthy” blog posts, eBooks, video case studies, how-it-works demo videos or white papers. It’s all about results.
April 16, 2013
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