2017 Nike’s Breaking2
The Sub 2 hour marathon is the last frontier of human achievement in running. In an audacious attempt to break this record, Nike recruited 3 of their top athletes, designed a revolutionary shoe, then headed to the Monza Formula 1 race track in Italy to stream it all live.
Run of Show Development
Graphics Development + Integration
International Crew Management
Digital Asset Management
On Site Commercial Production
26.2 Miles in 2 hours and 25 Seconds
19,800,000 Total Live Views
550,000 Concurrent Views Across Platforms
628,000,000 Paid Impressions Overall
Our job as the broadcast partner was to deliver this brand experience to the masses in a compelling way. One could argue that distance running has not been the most exciting spectator sport of the ages. At one point or another, we’ve all witnessed televised races, picked our favorite countries and cheered them on to win gold at the Olympics. Although the super fans religiously tune in to watch monumental events like this, it seems that the average person doesn’t even know it’s in session. The underlying question here is: How do we get the average person to subscribe to this seemingly mundane activity? How do we captivate and convey the magnitude of these undersold athletic endeavors?
In the case of Breaking2, we chose to think outside the box. We were not at the Olympics so we would throw everything we knew about how to cover a marathon out the window. This event wouldn’t just be about how we covered it but it would be about the stories we would tell. We helped put together a content plan that would get you invested. Instead of watching a race, we gave you a crash course in elite running. We told the story of 3 elite athletes with culturally unique backgrounds while learning about the science of running, and why the hell anyone would even care about the Sub-2 hour marathon. We also dove in to Nike’s new shoe that is scientifically proven to make you run 4% faster. The culmination of these stories humanized not just the athletes but the endeavor they were pursuing, creating a need for for viewers to hang on and see if the record could be broken.
“Breaking2 seems to have reached a kind of marketing nirvana”
After the dust settled, it was clear Breaking2 was an unprecedented success. Media outlets around the world celebrated the attempt and praised Nike not only for the pursuit of breaking barriers but for doing it with prowess.
Tech Crunch said it best, “Breaking2 seems to have reached a kind of marketing nirvana, something that brands promise all the time without really delivering — a great story that also happens to be part of an advertising campaign.”
The event was noted as one of the best 10 Ads of 2017 by Ad Week and seemed to be an example of how to reach a new audience in the world of social media and online streaming.
Best 10 Ads of 2017
While the event itself was historical, we helped Nike bring it to the world. Mixing together innovative camera systems with a custom built live control room, we pulled out all the stops – making this live production as unique as the event itself. We brought in Europe’s best to help us set up the most sophisticated stabilized camera systems, like a SpiderCam and a live Russian Arm. These provided ‘larger than life’ coverage of the event space and the race against the clock. We implemented customized graphics that interfaced with the runners so we had race data that was up to date to keep the viewers glued to the runners’ progress. All this was packed together in a show that never left the action even while playing engaging content.
After we packed together a compelling show, we streamed it all live to global social platforms including: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and even Tencent in China. Immediately we saw an increase in viewership; quite quickly millions tuned in. We knew right away this was going to be big.
A feat like this is only possible with great partners. Wieden + Kennedy led the charge in delivering Nike‘s vision. Content creators, Dirty Robber crafted the interstitial stories and traveled around the world to film the athletes. We helped provide media and content to Mind Share (a global social media strategy firm) while we worked closely with all social media platforms making sure we provided first class quality streaming to our viewers.
In the end, we helped Nike change the way brands will approach marketing directly to the consumer. In today’s media-filled world, brands need to offer something in exchange for someone’s attention. This brand experience gives them just that. Today we can provide interactive entertainment with REAL analytics and REAL user engagement.