Nike woos teens with Prestos samples

Nike is pulling out all the stops to market its latest design in trendy slip-on shoes directly to teens.

Nike is pulling out all the stops to market its latest design in trendy slip-on shoes directly to teens.

Prestos, marketed as both comfortable and fashionable, have been launched with a street-sampling program linked to an ‘Internet race’ that offers teens the chance to win up to $1,000 worth of Nike products. The online race kicked-off across the country on July 12, and it will continue until September 8.

‘We are homing in on the areas where we’ll find the greatest concentration of teens, and holding the events on Thursday to Sunday, when most teens are around,’ says group marketing manager, Tracy Muxlow.

Youngsters visiting malls and major shopping areas in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal during the summer may be approached by Nike event-team members wearing backpacks with bungee chords attached to a selection of Prestos. Nike is also building on its established relationship with Cineplex by using the multiplexes as venues for the sampling events.

Ranging in price from $90 to $140, Prestos have a stretchy top and provide a sock-like feel. They are available in a variety of funky styles with teen-friendly names, such as Air Presto Faze, Presto Air Max Tremble, Presto Chanjo, the Presto Cage and Presto Air Trainer Escape.

Teens are challenged to try on a pair with the offer of a contest card and PIN number to enter at to see if they have won one of 100 pairs of the new shoes up for grabs. They will also be offered the chance to win Prestos by successfully kicking three beach balls at the centre of a Velcro board.

‘Rather than relying on TV and posters, we wanted to take the marketing one step further, to hit home to the teens through the Internet and out in their own environment,’ says Muxlow. ‘The thing about these shoes is that when people try them on they are amazed by how comfortable they are, so we wanted to market them in a way that would enable as many people as possible to try them on.’

The fun doesn’t stop there. On accessing the Nike Web site, the teens are invited to submit their details to be assigned to a Presto ‘race’ team and to recruit friends to the team.

For every friend recruited, your team wins an extra point. At the end of the race on September 8, the person on each of the 10 teams to have recruited the most friends will win a Nike MP3 player, while the second best recruiter from each team will win a Nike Triax watch. From the team with the most points at the end of the race, an overall winner will be randomly selected to nail a $1,000 booty, which includes a selection of Nike gear.

Naturally you have to give a phone number and e-mail address to enter, so as well as helping to shift vast quantities of the new shoes, Muxlow hopes that the promo will enable Nike to build up an extensive database. The aim is to get 50,000 youngsters to try on the shoes during the sampling program, so there is potential for a fairly hefty database of urban shopping-friendly youth if they all join a race team.

Nike is also supporting its campaign with a series of humorous TV adverts, which will dominate MuchMusic, MusiquePlus and other top teen programming this summer, and tie in with the street events and Web promo.

‘We had the opportunity to officially launch the shoe in Canada using original creative,’ says Neil Buchanan, account director at Cossette Communication Marketing. ‘In order to make the strongest impact with teens, we went for creative impact, grabbing their attention with some fresh, smart, humorous ads.’

The ads, which launched on July 12, feature sportsmen who choose to run in Prestos rather than using traditional racing techniques – for example a jockey runs a race without his horse, a motocross rider leaves his bike in the garage to run on foot, and a swimmer runs along the bottom of the pool in Prestos.

Muxlow explains: ‘The whole theme of the campaign is ‘You’ll use your feet for everything.’ We did some research with teens several months ago and found that they love these shoes because they are unique and futuristic, but also because they provide unbelievable comfort.

‘We heard a lot of kids saying, ‘Hey, I could do anything in these shoes,’ which became the genesis of the ad campaign,’ she adds.