charging, innovating, making, marketing, praising, promoting, selling

Owning the Impossible: Winners all round as Nike brings The MAG Back From The Future

Nike_Mag_shoetwenty two years in the waiting, The MAG is Back From The Future

it took about thirty seconds.  thirty seconds from receiving this IM from Alex S… to fall utterly in love.

“i could see you in those”

the link was to this:

“Back To The Future Nike Air Mags Are Real And Glorious” was Gizmodo’s Geek Out’s take on today’s news.  I couldn’t agree more

the world was awake, and had been alerted to the existence of The MAG, brought Back From The Future by Nike.  as a post on Nike’s site explains:

“The NIKE MAG is no longer the “greatest shoe never made.” The mythical shoe that originally captured the imagination of audiences in Back to the Future II is being released – and they’re here to help create a future without Parkinson’s disease … 1,500 pairs of the 2011 NIKE MAG will be auctioned on eBay with all net proceeds going directly to The Michael J. Fox Foundation. Each day for the duration of the ten-day auction, one hundred and fifty pairs of the 2011 NIKE MAG shoes will be made available …”

as sneaks go it’s a stunning piece of work and – with the exception of power laces – is as fine a replica of Marty’s originals that you’ll find:

then and now – Marty’s original 2015 sneaks and the ones revealed today

it arrived with this beautiful teaser clip:

a clip which isn’t alone … a gamut of content and AV collateral has been released to support the arrival of the 1,500 pairs, and not a corner has been cut – Doc Brown himself is on board:

the distribution model is designed to extract maximum value from the shoes.  by selling on Ebay, Nike ensure that – with such a strictly limited supply (there’s one pair for every 4.5 million people on the planet) – it doesn’t just find those individuals with the money to invest in these puppies, but engages those individuals in what is sure to be a fierce bidding war, with each other, to own their slice of the impossible.

everyone wins.

those of us who have been waiting since 1989 for “the greatest shoe never made” to arrive finally get to see it.  a lucky few will even get to own it.  the Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research will get a shedload of money to fight Parkinson’s (even if the average selling price is a conservative $5,000, the MAGs will generate over $7.5m in revenue).

Ebay get a burst of activity on their platform, part of which will no doubt fulfill the hugely valuable role of getting inactive registered users to engage with the site.  and as for Nike … money can’t buy publicity, the adoration of sneaker fans everywhere, and a global bidding war to get a hold of their product…

winners all round – The Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, Ebay and Nike

as marketing efforts go, its textbook best practice:

  • innovate and invest in creating products that have currency and will be in high demand
  • strictly limit supply
  • fewer bigger better partnerships to deliver and deploy the initiative
  • invest in credibility (Christopher Lloyd is in the ad for goodness sake)
  • sacrifice profits in favour of positive PR and goodwill
  • don’t buy media when you can earn it
  • invest in sharable high quality content
  • rigorously control timing to maximise interest and dominate news and conversation
  • product out, not advertising in

the awesomeness of these shoes is outdone only by the awesomeness of the marketing machine that has announced them to the world.  what happens over the next ten days remains to be seen, but for now its all eyes on Ebay – where, only 4 1/2 hours into day one’s auction, bids for every pair of size 9s are sitting at between $3,500 and $4,000.



good luck.


creating, making, marketing, planning, publishing, sampling

More than a Calling Card: how Daemon Group is creating collateral fit for the Age of Evidence

the cover of Daemon Group's calling card; THINK 02 Issue 2

you meet a lot of people in this business, most of whom leave you with a warm feeling, a couple of action points that you promise to yourself you'll do, and a business card.  no so the Daemon Group, the day after a meeting with whom, I received a magazine designed, written and produced by the agency.

it's a collection of thoughts and analysis of everything from design concepts to social issues, taking in behaviour and international reportage on the way…  and it's a pretty great read.

Think_Daemon_social-article the stats on social, just one of several articles on the changing communications landscape

the idea of a more personal calling card isn't necessarily new; moo have been providing the best of ways to personalise and add character to your 'keep in touch' collateral…  nor is the idea of the company magazine…

but what stand's Daemon Group's effort apart is the sheer commitment to quality…  the quality of the not only thinking, writing, and production, but also the quality of contact…  the magazine was delivered fresh to my desk the morning after my meeting with Richard, the group's chief executive.  the commitment to following up the meeting with me was matched only by the commitment to the collateral delivered.

the two big implications for brands and the planning of marketing communications are clear.  one, invest in quality collateral…  don't say you're passionate about what you do, have collateral that proves it.  don't gesticulate on the quality of your thinking, have collateral that demonstrates it…  buying media space that tells people how good / fast / impressive / [insert USP here] you are, is for a time now long gone by…

we live in the age of evidence.

claims, counter claims, and statements no longer cut it.  in the age of evidence it's what you do that counts, what you produce that get's noticed.  in the age of evidence reputations are built on what you craft and deliver to make your case to the world.

the second implication for brands is to have good, considered connections planning.  the too-often used phrase that means, simply, to have a plan for how you create and manage connections with people.  Daemon Group's magazine means nothing to me whilst it's sat on their Chief Executive's coffee table.  how much of what a brand actually does remains locked up?  hidden behind policy doors and content management gates.  brands that love their collateral set it free, fueling connections with people…

because that's what the best communications planning, at it's core, is…  what evidence can we create that proves the truth about what our brand is and represents; and how can we ensure that the right people encounter that evidence in relevant and meaningful ways?

I'm grateful that in a complicated world, which sometimes seems to move faster than I can keep up, a magazine landed on my desk to remind me how elegantly simple it all really is.  the challenge isn't to keep up with a changing communications landscape; the challenge is to remember that you can.

oh, and there's an article on Mr Potato Head too – who doesn't love that…