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Nike Overcomes Limited Database Info in Spain

A direct and interactive marketing campaign in Spain tied to the 2002 FIFA World Cup by American Nike S.A. yielded surprising results despite a lack of pertinent databases in Spain.

Targeting soccer-crazy Spanish youths ages 12 to 18, the effort promoted Nike's soccer collection comprising a kit, boots and accessories sold in 108 stores Spain-wide. The campaign, timed with the tournament last June in Japan and South Korea, used the Internet and online marketing to support mail drops and in-store sales.

An e-mail push to 55,000 recipients by Nike agency CP Comunicacion Proximity, Madrid, garnered a 10 percent response, persuading respondents to register on a specially created mini-site. After cleaning up the database, 4,000 names were added for a subsequent mailer.

The agency claimed a 12 percent response rate to the 115,000 mailers sent. Respondents went to one of the 108 stores stocking the Nike soccer collection and placed orders valued at an average of $32.

But such results did not come easy. A major challenge is that Spain lacks databases that are sufficiently usable and in line with the target group of teen soccer fans living in cities of more than 200,000 people. Spanish law also forbids communicating with children without parental or tutor consent.

Gathering names was important since the goal was not only to generate foot traffic at stores and increase sales of the line, but to present the new collection through a product catalog and build a file for future communications.

CP Comunicacion began with online marketing. Prior to sending mailers, it dispatched e-mails to names on opt-in lists that had agreed to receive information on soccer or sports equipment. A mini-site was created with a form to capture contact details necessary to send them campaign material.

Offline, a database was built through soccer events organized by Nike. The Club Infantil de Antena3 TV also was tapped as a source of sports fans ages 12 to 18. Finally, behavioral lists such as Consodat and Claritas were rented for records of households that had soccer enthusiasts ages 12 to 18.

“In this last case,” said Pablo Alzugaray, CEO of CP Comunicacion Proximity, “as we could not target the children themselves because we did not have their name, we placed a message on the envelope addressed to the householder, which read, 'Sorry, this letter is not for you, but for your son.'”

Once the database was defined, a creative strategy was developed. A prize draw was the designated ruse. Then the agency segmented the audience, and after merge/purge, got 115,000 names to target the campaign.

Nike used soccer stars such as Ronaldo, Figo and Eric Cantona to present the collection. It created a character called Scout that the kids could identify with. The grand prize was to have the kids be trained for a day by the leading Nike-sponsored soccer players in the Spanish league.

Campaign material comprised a book-catalog with 10 requirements to be part of the team, including “knowing how to dribble niftily past three or four defenders,” “being able to lift 196g weights” or “regularly visiting the official Nike distributor.”

The last page of the book included the Scout's personal card with a message on the reverse asking the youth to follow the 10 requirements. To close the loop, the targeted kids had to submit the form that contained the 10 requirements to the nearest store along with the proof of purchase of a Nike product.

A 6-foot-tall Scout in the shape of an urn was used to collect the files from the youngsters. They got a poster of the leading Nike soccer players as an immediate reward.

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