Nike’s Collaboration with Lance Armstrong Lives On

“Wear Yellow Live Strong”, a trendy Fashion Statement

Undoubtedly, you or someone you knew proudly wore the yellow Livestrong wristband and actively participated in the 2004 “Wear Yellow Live Strong” educational program The money raised went to the Lance Armstrong Foundation for cancer research, the Tour de France cyclist and cancer survivor, Lance Armstrong’s foundation.  The tangible wristband was developed by Nike and their advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy.  The agency did such a proficient job at marketing the wristband that everyone understood the cause.  It was interactive in the sense that it promoted storytelling.  Often times when you saw someone with the bracelet you wondered their reason for buying it.  You might have even felt inclined to ask them why they were supporting cancer research. This then developed into a conversation about a personal story. I am wearing it for my Grandpa….myself. In turn, the supporters of the cause did the marketing not just for the Foundation, but also for the Tour de France and Nike.  Seeing that it has helped raise 25.1 million dollars by selling 80 million wristbands, Nike found itself being portrayed in a charitable light   Celebrities made it a trendy fashion statement and the media helped with heightening the exposure allowing the “Wear Yellow Live Strong” campaign to go viral.

Perfect Match

The idea of brands telling stories is revisited.  The collaboration between the two writers if you will, made for a strong beginning and even stronger ending.  Nike being a sportswear and equipment company paired with the victorious cancer surviving athlete, Lance Armstrong.  Add a charitable cause and even better.  The collaboration came about because Nike was originally playing with the idea about making “baller bands”, bands that street basket ball players snap to get adrenaline pumping about a game. Right before this idea was launched the Livestrong project, business director Scott MacEachern entered the scene and the “Wear Yellow Live Strong” wristband campaign began.

Nike Livestrong Chalkbot Campaign

The partnership continued in 2009 when Nike invented the Chalkbot.  A machine that sprayed yellow chalk on the roads on route of the Tour de France with purposeful messages compiled from WearYellow.comTwitter, and SMS. Nike used the French roads as their canvas to promote cancer awareness.  The road was full of messages like “ I miss you.., “Cancer Survivor..”. The reason the campaign worked so well was the social media components. The campaign spread quickly obtaining 4,000 followers on Twitter in the short period of a month.  Amazingly, they received 36,000 messages and sprayed thousands of them over the 13 stages of the Tour de France that Lance, himself cycled over.  Wieden + Kennedy made sure to make this a real time experience. They sent the author of the message a picture of the  message printed on the Tour de France with GPS coordinates.  The other component was the moving  “Livestrong Integrated Campaign” video.   This was such a poignant and innovative campaign that it was awarded the Gold Prix in the Cyber Lions category at Cannes International Advertising Festival 2010.

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