2015 has been the year of social media campaigns, and for good reason. Social media campaigns are not only are easy to produce, but they are super easy to get a message across to a large group of people as well. One campaign that has truly stuck out to me within the past year is Nike Women’s #betterforit initiative.
The campaign, which was launched in April 2015, revolves around a commercial that showcases many young women trying to do physical activity. From a yoga class to a spinning machine to a weight room to a marathon, the commercial reveals the inner struggles and thoughts of female athletes, and those who may at times be intimidated to exercise in a crowd. The commercial is framed around “real” females who want to work out, and how many females unjustly doubt themselves and their abilities while working out. Nike has promoted short clips of the commercial, and the use of the hashtag #betterforit via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Tumblr to create a social media campaign that encourages females to share their exercise accomplishments via pictures, videos, and writing.
Stepping up your game starts with taking the first step. #betterforit
— Nike Women (@nikewomen) September 20, 2015
— Nike Women (@nikewomen) August 8, 2015
Let’s Talk Real
This campaign is a very strategic way for Nike to get people to go out and buy its clothing, without saying anything about apparel. To me, Nike has many objectives for this campaign. A major, and obvious objective is to get people to talk about Nike as a company on a completely digital entity. The PR department at Nike knew that by creating a social media campaign on multiple different social media platforms, with a fairly easy to remember hashtag, the company could spark conversation about women’s fitness easily and with little cost, all while still connecting Nike’s name to the campaign. Social media allows it to be so easy to converse about events and occurrences, and to respond to one another’s posts. Plus, people love to talk about themselves and to share their own accomplishments, and what better excuse to do so than with a social media campaign?
— Ashley Martens (@AshleyMartens) September 26, 2015
Nike also had the objective of creating a conversation about the fact that thirty-six percent of women admit that anxiety has prevented them from working out in a public gym, according to a recent study by Curves Australia. This clearly is not a good statistic for a company that markets fitness gear to women. Therefore, the #betterforit campaign shows that while all women have doubts about their gym and physical performance, they should still erase their doubts and continue to motivate and push themselves and work out (and ultimately purchase Nike clothing).
The final objective is to create a campaign in which “real” females are showcased, rather than the company’s previous campaigns that featured world famous athletes and stars such as tennis guru Serena Williams, supermodel Karlie Kloss, and soccer star Alex Morgan. Therefore, Nike’s goal is to make the commercial and campaign more relatable to all women, and to show that all normal women can push themselves to exercise no matter what the circumstances are.
A Good PR Strategy Was Just What This Campaign Needed
Nike’s PR and marketing department have been very strategic about the planning and implementation of this social media campaign. One major strategy that the company used was to debut the commercial during the spring MTV Movie Awards, an award ceremony that always draws a large audience. Therefore, while people were cozied up watching their TVs to hear the news that their favorite movie received an award, they watched the commercial that launched and promoted the campaign. This clearly was smart because numerous people saw the commercial, and therefore it immediately sparked the conversation about women’s fitness.
I personally think that the strategy of creating a campaign based around pictures and videos was genius on Nike’s part. As earlier stated, people love to talk about themselves and their accomplishments. However, they not only love to talk about themselves, they also love to show real results through the sharing of images. Through the campaign people can do just that, and many times Nike Women’s official Twitter and Facebook accounts will respond to posts with encouraging comments via social media.
— Monica Kucera (@MonicaJKucera) September 26, 2015
I'm not going to lie, I did not want to get up and go train this morning but I have a rule, some of you might know it, never miss a Monday. So I dragged myself in and made it through a very tough leg day. 4x 12 sumo dead lifts, Front rack lunges, RDLs and Bulgarian squats with a 4 second pause on the bottom– ugh! I may have been bitching more than sweating- and by the look of my shirt you know that was a lot of bitching. Thanks to our awesome coaches for always encouraging us to do the work! #Hpistrong #grantgirlsgrind #757fitness #betterforit #strongnotskinny #workout #trainlikeagirl #weightloss #nevermissamonday #girlswholift
I also think that the strategy of “show not tell,” or basically how Nike never said to purchase its apparel but instead shows images of people wearing Nike apparel and using the Nike fitness app, makes the messages of the campaign more credible to its audience. If the commercial and social media campaigns just showed images of people saying to use the company’s products, even if they did touch upon the “real women” aspect, people would not be as moved and motivated to actually work out.
The Many Strengths Outweigh the Limited Weaknesses
While this campaign is still ongoing, and therefore has not shown any long-term results, it has revealed some insights and short-term results about how a social media campaign functions, and its strengths and weaknesses. The campaign has so far shown a multitude of strengths and positive outcomes. It has resulted in countless tweets, retweets, and other social media likes and comments about fitness and motivation. It has also started a conversation between social media users about the impacts of living healthy lifestyles. Lastly, the commercial has reached over 8 million views on the company’s YouTube channel, therefore reaching a fairly large portion of people worldwide.
While most of the results have been positive so far, there have been some negatives. The majority of negative feedback around the campaign is that the commercial, which the social media campaign was built around, only showcases attractive, fit women. People took to Facebook to comment on the fact that while the commercial and campaign aim to address the “normality” of most females who exercise, they do not show “real” women.
Kimberly Rae: I like the message behind this ad but why is only one body type represented in this?
Riki Taylor Juarez: Awesome ad. Now do one for people who actually look out of shape.
Jennifer Guerrero also addressed the fact that many “real” women cannot afford to purchase Nike apparel. “Now lower the prices a little so real women can buy your stuff,” said Guerrero in a Facebook post. Most Nike shoes range from $60-$200, and its clothing tends to range from $45-$130. Therefore, it is true that many “real” women, who may already have to focus on their careers and families, may not wish to spend so much money on fitness apparel. For that reason, I think that Nike should have created a large “#betterforit”discount or sale section online and in stores, and shown “real” women, not skinny commercial actresses, shopping from the section in the commercial.
To me, however, the positive results from the #betterforit campaign outweigh the negative results. Even if the campaign does not feature “real” women, it still gets the message across that women should not be ashamed to go to the gym, but instead should push themselves to work harder.