Football message in a bottle

On March 3, I gave a strong credit to the Nike football kits for the World Cup. They are made from 8 recycled plastic bottles and consequently Nike is making a bold statement by integrating the sustainable element to football. No doubt that it will be a great buzz during the World Cup in South Africa.

The swoosh did not overlook retail distribution though. The Federations shirts will be sold…………in a plastic bottle. I would hope that they have not used more bottles for jersey packaging than bottles to make those jerseys! A simple pull tab in the middle of the bottle hides the opening, and the federation shirt is yours. The idea is simple, inspirational and smart. We may wonder why using a plastic bottle to sell shirts made from plastic bottles. Well, as a marketer, I would argue that selling jersey made out of a plastic bottle IN a plastic bottle was the best marketing element to drive the consumer’s purchase. In addition, an interesting add on is a USB key which stores Nike press releases and HD pictures of the complete range. A cool way to provide a unique gift for clients: Marketing Lagniappe?

I would like to focus on the following points:

1. New football retail trend
The traditional football shirt purchase is over. For those who do buy football jerseys in stores, you have a piece of cloth in your retail store bag and off you go. Now the customer will experience a new trend when buying a Nike shirt. A better feel for the money spent as he will leave the store with a new and unexpected item.

I am not sure how the stores managers handled the warehousing issue of the bottled shirts, as they had to plan a different retail space and involve new logistic methods. But hey, it’s for a “good cause” isn’t it?

2. Address the environmental issues
Football fans that are concerned with the environmental issues will not refrain from spending €75 on a football shirt. Well I speak for the 9 World Cup qualified countries Nike created sustainable jerseys for (Netherlands, Korea Republic, New Zealand, USA, Slovenia, Brazil, Portugal, Australia, Serbia).

3. Competition creates emulation
I believe that in every single industry, competition creates emulation which the healthiest way to come up with great new products and services. I am looking forward to seeing the marketing initiatives other football brands will activate around the 2010 FIFA World Cup. So far, adidas is preparing a marketing offensive as World Cup approaches and I will develop more in an article coming soon. Puma, Coca-Cola and others have as well unveiled their strategy. More to come on My Football Lounge. Stay Tuned!

Your thoughts on the Nike bottled shirts are welcome!

Karl Lusbec


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