"NIKE, AKQA and MindShare Partner to Change Widget Advertising For Good" was the headline of the press release that I received in my ON: Inbox last week.  While it peaked my interest it also gave me pause and reminded me that "change begets more change".  Widgets are not a new change for consumers.  What has changed is our use of them as an easy way to distribute content for brands by sharing the content and functionally in them with our communities.  the brilliant marketers at NIKEFootball know that the brand site, at launch, is a place for consumers to fall in love and share. 

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In an attempt to deliver on of the largest video widget campaigns ever, the European Soccer Championship, Eyeblaster, NIKE, AKQA and Mindshare worked together to extend the reach of NIKE branded football films found on its groundbreaking NIKEFootball website.

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NIKEFootball’s video widget campaign moved across more than 10 countries, revolutionizing the way any brand has ever used ad serving technology. The campaign uses bought/paid media combined with Nike Media (ie sites, banners and applications) to inspire earned / consumer generated media across the globe.

Here is the lift from the press propaganda sheet:
Eyeblaster, home of the world’s most innovative integrated digital marketing solutions has been selected by global advertising agency AKQA and worldwide media agency network MindShare to serve and measure innovative branding video widgets for NIKE across 10 countries.

As part of a multi-faceted campaign that crosses multiple borders, the widgets leverage Eyeblaster’s digital expertise and technology to enhance user experience and brand integration for one of the most well-known brands on the planet.

“We’re excited to launch one of the largest global video widget campaigns ever,” said Mike Cookson, content and media director at Nike EMEA. “AKQA’s creative ability, MindShare’s leading distribution strategy and Eyeblaster’s targeting technology is enabling Nike to distribute content in ever-smarter ways.”

NIKE’s new campaign uses ad-unit content distribution (ACD) to extend the reach of NIKE branded football films found on its groundbreaking NIKEFootball website. AKQA designed the NIKE widget to showcase video using well known sporting and media celebrities to deliver NIKE branded content directly from a video banner ad to social networks, homepages, blogs, etc.

“NIKE’s new campaign breaks the traditional online advertising model,” said Chris Hancock of AKQA. “We wanted to invent a way to push content out to users. Using Eyeblaster, we designed a campaign that uses advertising space on websites as a channel to distribute video from a site in conjunction with the added ability for consumers to ‘grab’ the content.”
“The widget represents fresh thinking that adds value to consumers' experiences of the brand.  It allows us to sustain a 3-way dialogue between Nike and consumers and amongst themselves, throughout the campaign and beyond, by continually refreshing our messaging and the functionality of the widget,” added Hani Mahdi, account director at MindShare WorldWide.

To maximize ad spend and add a viral aspect to the campaign, AKQA integrated seeding technology with the video widget. The seeding technology is powered by Gigya in cooperation with Eyeblaster. Users can “grab” the widget from the website they are looking at and install it on their social networking page. This opens a direct, permanent communication channel with users where NIKE can update video content at anytime.

“NIKEFootball’s new widget campaign revolutionizes the way any brand has ever used ad serving technology,” said Gal Trifon, CEO and co-founder of Eyeblaster. “Eyeblaster makes it possible to fully execute MindShare’s and AKQA’s creative strategy and we are confident that the campaign will generate great results.”

The campaign is being served and measured using Eyeblaster’s Ad Campaign Manager (ACM) platform. With ACM, AKQA and Nike can access data consolidation and manage geo targeting, dynamic content and global distribution from one platform.

This does not feel new, but it sure feels big.  Perhaps the change they speak of is when a big brand like Nike pushes the limits on content and distribution perhaps it will inspire other categories to follow suit with relevant content that will inspire brand love.

If this is the LARGEST WIDGET LAUNCH EVER - Does anyone know which widget sharing platform they used?  I scrubbed the code and it looks like Gigya has done it one more time!  It just seemed highly unlikely that they would re-invent that wheel at the brand's expense.

ON: NIKEFootball’s Widget Launch via @jpenabickley