Hi everybody. Today's episode is going to be a very special one because today we are going to talk about one of the greatest
sports brands in the world. The story that I'm about to tell you today is the story of a
brand that is not just an inspiration for people like you and me but also for a legend like Steve Jobs. People, in 1996 when Steve Jobs came back to Apple Apple was crippling with losses because of 11 consecutive
years of failure and it was almost about to go bankrupt. During this time when Steve Jobs came back to the company the biggest challenge that he faced was the reputation of
the company which had degraded to such an extent that people had
completely lost faith.
And that is the reason why he had to do something magical to actually bring the company back on track. During this time he came out with a legendary campaign
called the 'Think Different' campaign which even today is known as one of the greatest marketing
campaigns ever. And you know what people? This campaign brought back the trust of the common man in
Apple and laid a solid foundation to such an extent that today, if Apple is a trillion dollar company it is only because of legendary campaigns like the 'Think
Different' campaign. So, when I was doing a deep dive to try and understand what exactly was Steve Jobs thinking
while he was designing the 'Think Different' campaign I found an archived video wherein Steve Jobs is addressing
his executive and he states Nike to be one of his inspirations for the
'Think Different' campaign.
And that's when I started to think what exactly is so special about a company that sells shoes that it was able to inspire a legend like Steve Jobs. And that's what is going to be the subject of this episode wherein we are going to decode the historic greatness of
Nike with a classic example. So, the story dates back to the year 2012 when Summer
Olympics was being held in London. And because the Summer Olympics was being held all the sports brands were very eager to become the title
sponsors of the Olympics because they knew that if they could become the title
sponsor of the Olympics they could pump in a lot of profit. So, the auction was held and the title sponsorship went to
Adidas and Nike lost its chance to become the title sponsor to its
arch rival. And adidas paid $150 million just to be the title sponsor of
the Olympics. And every time we hear a figure like this, the first
question that comes to our mind is what exactly is so special about the title sponsorship that you would pay $150 million just to be associated with
the name of Olympics.
And the answer to that lies in a very simple example that is very closer to our home, that is, Vivo's title
sponsorship to IPL. Now, when I understood that Vivo is going to pay Rs 2,200
crores just to get its name as 'Vivo IPL' I got completely shocked and that is when I looked at the growth of Vivo in 2018 and
2019 and as it turns out, in 2018 Q1, that is, just before the IPL started Vivo was shipping about 2.1 million units, alright? But one year later, after the IPL happened in the exact same quarter in 2019 Vivo was shipping 4.5 million units.
That's a staggering growth of more than 100% in the world's second largest mobile market. And this is the reason why title sponsorship of any popular sports event is a goldmine investment for any company. And that's the reason why Olympics was like a golden gateway for adidas to get way ahead of Nike. And specifically, they also sat down with the Olympics
committee to try to make sure that they make such stringent rules that no other brand, let alone Nike will be able to steal their thunder by actually associating
their name with Olympics.
So, the Olympics committee came out with a bunch of strict
rules and regulations that have to be followed by every single brand in such a way that they could in no way associate themselves with the
Olympics and by the way this also included a list of words which included the words 'London Olympics', 'Summer
Olympics', 'Olympics', '2012' 'The rings of the Olympics' and so on and so forth. So, theoretically it was made impossible for any brand to get associated with Olympics in any way that would steal the thunder of Adidas as a
brand. So, with all of this put together everybody thought that
Adidas is now going to go viral it's going to remain at the top of the chart because now it is the title sponsor of the Olympics.
But you know what? There was a slight twist in between and when the actual results came out as it turns out, while adidas had about 9,000 tweets associating adidas with the Olympics, there were about 16,000 tweets that associated Nike with the
Olympics. Not just that, during the tenure of the Olympics that is, starting from the opening ceremony to the closing
ceremony adidas added about 12,000 followers to its social media
handle while Nike added 57,000 followers to its social media
handle. And the cherry on the cake is there was a survey that was conducted in the US wherein people were asked 'Who do you exactly think is the
title sponsor of the Olympics?' 21% of those people thought that adidas is the title sponsor
of the Olympics BUT 37% of the people identified Nike to be the title sponsor of
Which means what? Millions and millions of people were thinking that Nike was the title sponsor of the Olympics and not
adidas! So, the question is without being the title sponsor of the Olympics; without spending $150 million; without even using the keywords to associate yourself with
the Olympics; How is it even practically possible for a brand to acquire
more publicity than the real title sponsor? And that's where the legendary strategy of Nike comes into
play. So, the first thing that they understood was regardless of how complex the system is, there will always
be a loophole. And they found 3 loopholes. The first loophole that they found was regardless of whoever is the title sponsor of the Olympics the athletes were free to choose whichever shoe they wanted.
And that is the reason why Nike hired 400 Olympians to be its brand ambassador and just asked them to wear the Nike shoe that they were
given And Nike came front with a quirky line of shoes which was
named as Volt wherein they distributed yellow-green coloured shoes to the athletes to be worn during their matches. And the reason why they specifically chose the yellow-green
lineup was because that colour was in perfect contrast of the tracks of the
Olympics. The second loophole that they found was in this rule which prohibited Nike from showcasing the London of UK in
their commercials. But you know what? The loophole here is that there are 28 other locations in this world which are named as London except the London of UK. So, Nike shot their commercials in all other Londons except London in UK. So, the commercials were shot in London in Ohio, Little London in Jamaica, the London Hotel, the London Gym Small London in Nigeria and even the London Road. And very smartly Nike was able to place the word 'London' in all of its
And third and most importantly and here's where the sweet
spot is. Usually if you look at these Nike and Adidas commercials you will see all the celebrities endorsing the brand but when it comes to Nike, for the Olympics, they were not
allowed to use Olympians for endorsement. So, while adidas was actually flaunting all of its
commercials by hiring all of these Olympians to be its brand ambassador Nike decided to hire average teenagers as ambassadors for its brand endorsement. I repeat, while adidas had Olympians Nike hired average teenagers who were not known to anybody as ambassadors to endorse its brand. And came out with a beautiful masterpiece which literally,
literally broke the Internet. And this is what the commercial looked like. Now, if you looked at that commercial closely, you must have
realized that just like Coca-Cola leveraged the emotion of happiness to communicate its idea.
Nike leverages the emotion of inspiration to communicate its
idea. In both cases, both these brands are trying to give you an involuntary experience of their
commercial. And if you look at Nike's commercial even more closely, you
will see that they don't want to talk about Usain Bolt. They want to talk about the Usain Bolt spirit within every
single individual like you and like me. And if you are somebody who is pushing your limits every single day to become a better version of yourself that Nike commercial is literally depicting your own story. And because Nike managed to strike a cord with local
champions it was able to go trending and Nike was trending number one
on YouTube one week after the Olympics started with 4.5 million views.
As compared to that, adidas was at number three with only 2.9 million views. And that's how without being the title sponsor, without paying $150 million and without actually using the banned keywords Nike managed to steal the thunder from adidas and emerged as a champion in this marketing war. Now, we've got 3 very important lessons to learn from this
entire case study. Number one, do you realize that even if Nike had not tried so hard if the Olympics happened without Nike coming out with its
'Find Your Greatness' commercial people would still remember Nike, right? Nike wouldn't be forgotten and yet Nike put in this extra efforts to actually come out with a
beautiful commercial to beat adidas inspite of all odds. And that is because Nike, as a brand, realizes that the only difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra. In this case, it's Nike's efforts to emerge as a legend inspite of all odds. Number two, people might forget what you said but they will never ever
forget how you made them feel and Nike's commercial is a classic depiction of this quote.
So, if you pick up some work to do, just make sure that it's
remarkable. Because in this world 99% of the people are good but 1% are great and that is only because they choose to be great. Because every single champion today understands that good is imperative but greatness is always, always a
choice. And last and most importantly, like the legend says 'Somehow we have come to believe that greatness is meant
only for a chosen few that greatness is only meant for the superstar but the truth is- greatness is for everyone. It's not about lowering the expectation but about raising it
for each one of us because greatness is not in one special person or one
special place greatness is wherever somebody is trying to find it.
So, my dear friend, my question to you is What are you doing to find your greatness?.