Advertising firm, Wieden + Kennedy did a very special thing in 2018. They created a marketing and advertising campaign that truly brought people together. They also helped Nike sell an awful lot of merchandise and won several major awards for their creative work.
How did they do this? By going ultra-local.
What is an ultra-local marketing campaign?
It seems that international brands are always working on major global campaigns that are intended to speak to their entire customer-base at once. Global campaigns can be highly successful if done sensitively and, ideally, with some level of localisation to ensure the brand message is not lost in translation as it travels around the world.
However, examples like the Wieden + Kennedy campaign for Nike show that you can boost sales and engage people more effectively with your brand if you focus on a single local market and the customers that live within that market. This doesn’t just apply at the ultra-local level; we’ve seen over 1,300 customers succeed by using translation services too – just at a language level rather than a city-wide one!
Creating a campaign that is highly-tailored to the people living in a specific city or region, for example, makes them feel incredibly ‘special’ and valued by that brand. And if you manage to convey that warm, fuzzy feeling of a brand valuing its individual customers, the campaign will have mass appeal.
The Nike ‘Nothing Beats a Londoner’ campaign
The campaign features more than 100 genuine London-based sports fanatics, each starring in their own mini video snippet. They brag about their abilities, their skills, how quick they are, how far they go for their sport and how hard they work. These mini vignettes were released initially through each of their personal social media accounts, linking to the next Londoner’s video, as if passing the baton.
The campaign features familiar London locations, including vibrant areas like Brixton and Peckham as well as suburbia and the Thames. There are in-jokes, familiar music and locations, heavy London accents, as well street slang commonly used in London.
The content of the videos was made to be so familiar to young Londoners that it would almost seem as if they could have filmed them themselves, with their friends, in the streets around them.
Several celebrity London-based sports stars and grime artists who feature in the videos started sharing the clips online, before a full three-minute video was launched in February 2018 on TV, cinemas and online.
The Nike campaign obviously struck a chord as London searches for Nike products were up 93 per cent after the campaign was released, according to research by fashion search platform Lyst.
They also recorded a 72 per cent increase in Nike searches in Manchester and a 54 per cent increase across the UK as a whole.
These figures suggest that Londoners felt compelled to buy Nike clothing and footwear as a result of viewing a campaign that was tailored to them. On top of this, people living in other UK urban areas also felt engaged as a result of the campaign, perhaps feeling that Nike understands what it is like to be a young urban person in the UK today.
Nike reportedly received some complaints from non-Londoners who felt the campaign was too London-centric, suggesting they were insulted by the idea that Londoners are better than those from elsewhere in Britain. This will always be the risk of an ultra-local campaign, but in this case, Wieden + Kennedy got the balance right as Nike saw growth in searches from all over the UK, despite the fact that they inevitably upset some potential or existing customers.
The challenges and opportunities of ultra-local
Londoners loved the video, and especially London youth, who are heavily reflected and featured in the campaign. Young people living in urban areas can feel ignored or even vilified.
Nike was able to produce a sensitive and effective ultra-local campaign that had a big impact thanks to well-researched localisation work. This type of campaign can be a success in any city in the world providing a similar level of work goes into reflecting the current issues, feelings and underlying fears and hopes of the consumers it is speaking to.
But if you put a foot wrong, such a campaign can be equally disastrous. Get it right and, like Nike, you can help to heal wounds, build bridges and create a sense of belonging with your brand at the centre of it all.
Talk to Bubbles Translation about taking a global campaign, local with expert language translation services.