When the University of Oregon football team trotted out of the tunnel, through a wall of fog, and into the lights of the field in San Antonio, the team was once again donning newly designed uniforms. However, this time, the Oregon uniforms were not only a different design, but were a new type of uniform entirely. Nike chose the 2013 Alamo Bowl to debut the brand’s newest, “most innovative” uniforms to date and used the Oregon football team to do it. “Introducing the 2014 Nike Mach Speed Uniforms…” you could almost hear the announcers say.
Needless to say, Nike and Oregon have always had a close relationship. In exchange for providing the school with new uniforms and gear every year, Oregon has become a green and yellow flagship for the Nike brand. However, this partnership extends beyond the athletes. Nike also works with Oregon to create consumer-targeted experiences. Before a regular season game, Nike organized the ultimate Oregon football fan experience called “Unleash the Speed.”
Nike worked with an experiential-focused marketing agency (Attack!) to design and execute a series of activities that placed fans in the shoes of Oregon football players. After a free game-day face paint, fans were ushered into a tunnel where they watched a football sizzle reel and received a pump up speech from a coach.
They trotted out of the tunnel, through a wall of fog, and into the lights of the mini-field outside the stadium. After fans donned Nike’s newest training shoes, they completed a football obstacle course and were rewarded with free Oregon football t-shirts and Nike rally towels. When fans reached the end, they were encouraged to perform their touchdown dance. The photos of which were available online for keepsake or for sharing.
Sponsoring the Oregon football team among countless other teams and athletes its one of the ways Nike has been able to maintain is brand dominance. However, when Nike is also able to produce micro-stunts that immerse fans in the lives of their favorite athletes with Nike products, they also maintain brand loyalty.