John Pasmore's Occassional Blog

Nike’s Genius Race by John


Genius from a marketing perspective. Take a slow holiday or an end of summer Sunday in cities around the world and create an event that invites everyone to participate and what do you get? If you’re Nike you get a giant marketing success with the ‘Human Race’ even if there are some false starts here and there.

For disclosure I ran a 55 minute and 1 second time in New York. I could have been better, but easily could have done worse. That aside, Nike deserves lots of credit for having the guts to even attempt something on this scale. And congratulations for the sea of red shirts that showed up in New York (10,000+ runners).

Randall’s Island is maybe not the best venue for a race of this size. First off, moving 10,000 people plus spectators on and off the island was not easy or elegant to watch (or participate in). But we got there — and I would guess most New Yorkers have never been to Randall’s Island and so just getting there was a bit of an adventure. The line for the Nike arranged buses in Harlem snaked around 2 blocks taking up to 45 minutes to step off the street and onto a bus. I think everyone made it. Buses and ferries were still arriving at 6PM the official, yet missed, start time.

The takeaway was that we all had to go to the Nike store, we all participated in a Nike event, we all signed into a Nike site to check times (several times). In marketing jargon, we all ‘experienced’ the brand in an immersive event. In English, Nike hosted a fun and positive event and that rubs off on the brand. For one day, Nike added to quality life in New York City and they won.

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