Twentysomething reporter tests out Nike’s new efforts

As an active woman in my late 20s, I fit neatly into Nike's female demographic. Since they hope to lure chicks like me with their integrated marketing efforts, I decided to check things out. Here's what I found....

As an active woman in my late 20s, I fit neatly into Nike’s female demographic. Since they hope to lure chicks like me with their integrated marketing efforts, I decided to check things out. Here’s what I found.

In print:

There’s a Nike ad in Shape magazine. An African American woman is in some crazy yoga pose that looks extremely uncomfortable. She is stretched backwards, grasping her ankles. The setting is a sandy beach, where soft sunrays highlight her thin frame and fabulous hair. Boy, do I feel guilty for eating those fries at lunch! Below, the famous swoosh and the statement, ‘I’ve never owned a ball.’

As a woman who does, am I some sort of freak? All I know is I don’t look like that when I’m working out.

Online:

‘You were born to?’ is what I see when I visit nikegoddess.com. Then a bunch of options flash my way – love, live (isn’t everyone born to live?), give, ride, hike…. The list goes on, but I’m bored. Thankfully, there’s a ‘skip intro’ icon.

The next inspirational question of my day: ‘What moves you?’ It’s set against a vibrant blue backdrop, while a tangerine-colored silhouette dances nearby. Fortunately it stops. Then the words, ‘Today I feel…,’ with several options running vertically on the page. I tilt my head to read them: ‘I need a boost,’ ‘totally energized,’ ‘like shopping,’ etc. ‘Need a boost’ sounds right, because it’s 3 p.m. and I do need a coffee. Nike tells me to ‘try Tai Chi,’ or ‘Meet Michelle,’ who apparently lost 70 lbs. Great, but I don’t need to lose 70 lbs. Maybe 10.

The Tai Chi write-up is a couple of paragraphs long. Nothing different here. There are blurbs in small fonts on this site, but since I’m not ‘totally energized’ I don’t make the effort to read them. I want to buy a T-shirt, but there’s a $20 shipping charge. I can take a cab to NikeTown – and back – for $20!

Instore:

At NikeTown, a sign says Women’s ACG is on the ground floor and other women’s products are on the lower level. I like ACG, so I wander through a maze of store-in-store sections. Can’t find it. Finally, I approach a sales associate and find out everything for women is downstairs.

On the lower level, products seem to be divided into three categories: running, training and sports. I peek in sports and see khaki pants and striped tees. For hiking? Where’s the basketball and soccer gear? In training, I like what I see – fun, fashionable floral prints in bright orange and turquoise. The colors have the same feel as the Web site.

But I’m confused by the organization. Then another salesperson (NikeTown appears to be well-staffed) informs me that the women’s area ‘looks really bad right now’ because it is in a transition stage. I ask him what’s happening. He shrugs, ‘I dunno.’ Let’s hope someone does. LD