Thursday, 3 July 2008

Nike China Advertising

Nike China is planning an advertising blitz this summer in the run up to the Olympics. As well as having the most famous Chinese athletes in their stable, hurdler Liu Xiang, basketball player Li Jianlian and the latest Chinese sports sensation Zheng Jie, the tennis player who reached the Wimbledon Ladies semi finals last week.

The adverts shown above, although a couple of years old, show how advertising should be done in China. Everday Chinese people in everyday situations show off unexpected improvised athletic skills using just what comes to hand. For anyone who has spent any time in China or watched any Chinese television, this video will definitely ring true.

Nike 100
A few months ago, Nike took over a space in the 798 district of Beijing. While, relatively unknown outside China, the 798 area is a burgeoning creative neighbourhood in the north east of the city. It's full of old munitions factories and warehouses which are now being used by local artists and gallery owners.

The Nike 100 building showcased the top 100 innovative concepts ever created by Nike and was only open for one month. On entering the building, each guest was given an Ipod Touch preloaded with 100 tracks describing each of the innovations. Also on display were a great deal of rare exclusives. Although I wasn't lucky enough to see the exhibition, it strikes me as a great example of Nike building hype around their brand pre-Olympics.

How long before "Made in China" becomes "Created in China"?
Only a matter of time in my opinion, there's increasing focus around the world on the creative output coming out of China, eg. China Design Now at the V&A in London. From gauging reaction on various blogs, it's clear to me that the label "Made in China" is becoming increasingly resented on the mainland.

It will be interesting to see what kind of role brands like Nike will play in enabling homegrown talent to emerge, and what kind of imagery/advertising will follow. I'm not sure who was involved in the creation of the above Nike Liu Xiang outdoor advert but it's definitely distinctly Chinese in style. I wonder if this is the path Nike will go down in the run up to the Olympics.


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