Nike leveraging Snapchat, TikTok for its “Play New” campaign

Nike, like many companies targeting a younger demographic, has increasingly focused its marketing efforts on digital platforms. During fiscal 2020, Nike’s digital sales ballooned to $5.5 billion (up from $3.8 billion a year earlier), and the company has been pivoting to e-commerce and mobile (including its own Nike app) more and more.

Part of that strategy is evident in its recently launched “Play New” campaign, which encourages people to try new athletic activities “even if you kind of suck” and gives customers an option to play around with augmented reality lenses on Snapchat. There are full-body lenses available for yoga and dancing, which have been somewhat gamified with the ability to keep track of user scores, and the collaboration will soon bring surfing and boxing lenses to customers as well. This follows Nike’s recent push for its Air Max 90s, allowing Snapchat users to “try on” the sneakers through augmented reality.

Aside from Snapchat, Nike is getting more active with TikTok as it seeks to engage younger consumers. Nike is working with several TikTok content creators to establish an ongoing series of “episodic journeys” that fit within the overall “Play New” campaign. Basketball star Sabrina Ionescu and sprinter Dina Asher-Smith, both of whom are featured in the campaign’s main spot, will also take part in TikTok spotlights to share stories of their experiences and to promote women in sports.

Nike, founded in 1964, has been very popular among the Gen X crowd, but in recent years, some have pointed to slipping market share among today’s youth. A 2015 profile indicated that Nike was ranked the second most popular sports apparel brand with consumers aged 45-65, but only fifth among consumers aged 18-24. Interpret’s New Media Measure® data squares with this profile, as Nike customers overwhelmingly prefer to use Facebook, whereas just one-third regularly use Snapchat and one-quarter TikTok. The brand’s renewed efforts in digital and on rising platforms like TikTok should allow them to connect more organically with Millennials and even younger consumers.