Nike+iPod: offering something useful to a community, not just communicating

I absolutely love the last bit of this quote from Ad Age I found on Hugh’s blog, about Nike’s decision to look beyond W+K for agencies with more online expertise. It sums up perfectly what we need more of in branding, and the whole reason behind WTS?:

"A crucial factor is Nike’s intent to build on the stunning success of its interactive ventures…
…including the partnership with Apple for the Nike+iPod, which has virtually transformed running and demonstrated how a brand can offer something useful to a community rather than just communicating its assets."

Hell, I’m going to say it again. Stand and repeat after me people: "Offering something useful to a community rather than just communicating". More substance, less spin. Add some value, not just noise.

For those of you who were early readers of WTS? you may remember the post on the Nike+iPod 6 months ago. It is a truly shit-hot, sub-zero cool bit of innovation (I know, I’m a signed up member of Apple-aholics anonymous). Stick the little sensor in your shoe, and your iPod Nano records your run (miles, calories burnt) and you when you get back, you can then upload the data it to a special Nike+iPod website.


The only downside about Nike+iPod is that there is nowhere to hide. Its on online reminder of those broken resolutions. Check out below my own running records… the impact of a great first quarter of client work, and the blog, and finishing the WTS? book are clear to see in my rubbish running record that started so well last October (below, left). I’m not doing much to add to the 17 686 789 km run by the Nike+iPod community (see the nice feature below right that updates in real time on the site):

Picture_4    Picture_5_2

The Nike+iPod story has got me  thinking about technology-powered product innovation, and how it can help FMCG brands differentiate vs. own-label. I’ll do another post on this soon.