It is no question that major sporting events are the ultimate stage to have your product noticed. Companies vie to have their commercial be the first one after a team wins a championship or in the case of this summer after they receive their gold medal at the champions podium. Those moments have the greatest chance of having the maximum amount of viewership ratings.
Having your product noticed is as much a science as it is a guessing game because you don’t know that it will always work. What if people are disappointed in the winner and simply turn it off? Or on a greater scale what if there is a power outage and viewership is lost in areas of the globe? For as many variables as there are for what demographics will be watching, advertisers still can’t predict if the ad time is going to pay off.
Which in return had me thinking about how to receive the maximum amount of constant airtime. Many brands have taken to using their logos as the key way to always be on screen. Whether it is plastered around the arena or on the athlete’s uniform, companies are buying ad time by using the key focal point of the game, the game itself. But this summer one brand, Nike; has transitioned this idea.
As I was taking in the Olympics Men’s Track & Field events last night I was staring at the runners footwear as I always do with any sport. While I don’t have the largest TV, I do have a substantial sized one but all I saw was the athletes green feet running by, very little of their bodies. In the race I watched six out of the eight runners were wearing Nike, which is an endorsement feat in itself. All eight of them were Africa descent (I will get to why this important later) and all of them were wearing their countries’ colors for their uniform.
The green color that was on the athlete’s feet is Volt, a color that has been polarizing Nike’s footwear for the past four years. The color has been featured on lifestyle and basketball shoes but has its largest appearance in Nike’s Running product. The track surface the runners were running on is a chromatic brown color that falls on the red and yellow side. The athlete’s countries’ uniforms ranged from red to blue to green to orange and as I mentioned earlier they were all Africa descendants so therefore their skin complexion was quite dark. Add to the fact that the race was at night in an open arena and you have a relatively dark palette of colors. Except for the Volt on their shoes.
Guess what color the human eye is most sensitive to? A greenish yellow hue, one could describe the color as Volt. Your eyes are especially sensitive to it when the color is placed in a relatively dark palette of colors thus making it the highlight and focal point of the image you are taking in.
This revelation is not shocking to me. Nike is an incredibly well thought out company and does very little without intention. In fact, you could say this is nothing new. In 1984 Michael Jordan’s then obscenely red Air Jordan 1’s were banned by the NBA for their bold use of the color red but Nike kept paying the fine for Michael to wear them. The shoes became a must have and put both Michael and Nike on a path of pure financial gain. The only difference that I see now is that the red Air Jordan 1’s Michael wore matched his predominantly red uniform. Volt doesn’t match any Olympic athletes uniform, especially not the US.
I went and captured a few images of the Olympics of athletes wearing Volt, some are panned far out and some are zoomed far in but in every instance Volt is the focal point.
The most shocking part to me? Is that it is not the swoosh that is being noticed, it’s Volt. The color isn’t even trying to highlight or pop the branding off the shoe it is simply the dominant part of the product. Thus making the viewer remember the color and not the logo. It is interesting to me because it is almost saying that the brand name isn’t as important as getting the viewer to remember the color that they saw flash on the screen for a split second.
Think about the next time you are walking through the mall and you go past a shoe store. Through the large windows you see a flash of a bright greenish yellow hue and you remember the color you saw on the medal podium during the Olympics. You go in the store to check out the bright shoes and you learn if you didn’t already know, it is a Nike product. You try them on and you love them! So you buy them simply because the color is so bold and unique. They are the ones the Olympians became champions in.
You now own a color that is synonymous with winning and Nike didn’t spend a dime of advertising dollars because they saw the Olympic games itself as their commercial.