Tag Archives: nike

Balancing Act

Ever wonder, “What is art?”

Seems New Balance is challenging viewers’ perspectives with its very own daily dose of modern (branded) interpretive videos. The short films featured on the sneaker company’s hub site are part of a new film project, art directed by Mother, which will showcase a new 15-30 second video daily in 2010.

So far, content ranges from banjo plucking battles to this trompe l’oeil short (captioned “Tight rope walking isn’t always dangerous”)—and anywhere/everywhere in between. Directed by Jesper Kouthoofd (of Ikea and Volvo fame), videos are loosely themed around the concept of “balance,” often employ stop motion techniques, and seem to beg for viewer analysis (i.e. – “What does this mean?”).

BrandWeek calls New Balance’s foray into the branded content arena (following such brands as Converse and Nike) “more entertaining than literal,” with Mother Art Director Mark Aver saying, “We wanted to create content that people [would] actually want to watch every day, perhaps for a year.”

While incorporating social media sharing and an iPhone app with a tonal alarm clock feature (touted as “the world’s first audio/visual alarm clock”) that alerts mobile users of new videos and allows for viewing via their iPhones, the campaign depends almost entirely on word of mouth.

Would you share?

Let us know what you think!

Video of the Week: As the NBA ’09 Playoffs kicked off, Nike Basketball added new commercials to the MVPuppets series featuring Kobe and LeBron.


Kobe and Lebron plug their upcoming movies over a game of ping-pong. Next, with the Cavs out of the playoffs, LeBron starts getting in shape for the 2010 season. And finally, Lil’ Dez gives his babysitter LeBron a hard time about not making the NBA finals.  David Allen Grier and Kenan Thompson lend their voices to these hilarious puppets created by Legacy Effects.

Also be sure to look at the Nike Basketball Facebook page, where you can become a fan, post on the wall, watch other MVPuppet videos, and check out the latest Nike Basketball products.

Then visit the MVPuppets’ very own Facebook page.

Last but not least, time is running out to snap up an MVPuppets t-shirt on eBay.  Seriously, someone is probably outbidding you right now.

(Videos and links after the jump.)


The Nike Basketball homepage:

MVPuppets Facebook page:

eBay MVPuppet t-shirt auction:

Three MVPuppets commercials for your (YouTube) viewing pleasure:


(Ping Pong)


(LeBron 2010)


(Lil Dez and LeBron at home)



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Entertainment v. Function: The Convergence

Reading Chris Brogan’s post from April 3 on the shifting impacts of advertising gave me pause. Inspired by a piece on Jeff Jarvis’ blog, Brogan contends that advertising is losing sight of its chief responsibility: informing the customer about the product. Furthermore, he takes a pretty direct aim at new forms of marketing by locating the heart of modern advertising’s undoing in one simple phrase: “entertainment overtook function.” Quite a claim, and an especially scary one for someone spending each and every work-day figuring out how to create entertainment tailored to brand objectives.


Brogan’s worry is worth addressing as it’s one that’s been floating around since the dawn of brand funded entertainment. To begin addressing it, I think it’s best to first consider the question of relevancy to consumer, which is both a tactical (“what medium?”) as well as a strategic (“what should this content say and to whom?”) concern.  In a world with endless overlaid inputs (the average person sees up to 1,000 ads per day), it’s just as easy for the consumer to lose sight of the advertisement as it is for the advertiser to lose sight of its aims.  Here’s where interesting and innovative entertainment can work as an important part of a viable digital marketing strategy.

The recent findings of a Netpop Research Report present a telling picture of how and where people communicate today. Online social networks, including everything from Facebook to blogs, have become the forums of modern interconnectedness. The report found that, in fact, “communication [has become] entertainment.” Digital tools and infrastructures have facilitated and perhaps created even greater demand for frequent communication through and from a myriad of channels.  In and of itself, this shift to the digital sphere provides a rich opportunity for sociological study, but for the purposes of this post, it’s more interesting to note that consumers are sharing rich-media with each other in increasing numbers and seeking this content in the medium in which they can most easily share it (online). New technologies have ushered in a convergent digital milieu of multi-media, a culture of always-on sharing through online social networks. Creating digital content is step one: translating the brand into a language native to today’s consumers.

The old system in which “PR” was entirely separate from “entertainment” is no longer the most viable model either.  Brands like Red Bull, Axe, Dove and Nike have embedded themselves in the lives of their customers through smart, well-executed, cross-channel campaigns that target consumers and provide them with entertainment while informing them about the brand itself and what its products can do.  Steve Rubel (in the aforementioned post on Jarvis’ blog) claims that the “product is [the] ad” but this doesn’t fully represent a brand’s scope. What a brand and its products are in the 21st century is an aggregate of sentiments towards the brand and the function of the product or service – the sum is greater than the parts. For its fans, Red Bull isn’t just an energy drink, it’s an identification with a particular, highly-cultivated image that gives it, and in turn its fans, a unique cultural niche. Telling the brand’s stories through music, video and events is more than a PR stunt – it’s a fundamental sculpting of its identity. 

To return again to Brogan’s argument, entertainment has become a valuable strategic and tactical tool in the creation of functional advertising that goes far beyond merely informing consumers about a product. Entertainment gives the brand a personality, an image, and a voice that allows it to speak to consumers in the forums they prefer.

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TWEED Guest Expert: Jun Group Discusses Content Distribution via P2P Networks

TWEED GUEST EXPERT is a series of posts authored by industry experts to introduce various perspectives on the branded entertainment industry.

As we develop content strategies that include 360° marketing and activation elements for our clients, we often search for new distribution channels to engage consumers with branded content. The P2P (a.k.a., peer-to-peer) platform is becoming an increasingly popular tool for consumers to view and engage themselves with branded video content. We’ve recently had the opportunity to explore the concept of P2P distribution with folks from Jun Group, who has worked with top brands like Unilever, Nike, Kohl’s, and Sprite to produce and distribute engaging branded content via P2P networks as well as syndicate content to blogs, social networks, and viral video sites. We’ve invited Mitchell Reichgut, President of Jun Group author a post discussing key stats and advantages of P2P distribution and what brands should keep in mind about this emerging platform for branded content.



According to comScore, peer-to-peer (P2P) networks are one of the top ten most visited Internet destinations, just behind Facebook. Almost half of the Internet’s bandwidth is attributable to P2P, and the medium is loaded with millions of influential users who experience entertainment first and then share it with their friends.

Marketers are getting the picture. Jun Group connects a number of Fortune 500 brands, major entertainment companies, and media buyers/planners with the P2P audience through an organic process that works like SEO.

Unlike “post-and-pray” viral marketing tactics, P2P consistently generates significant reach (1-3 million US-based downloads per campaign). That’s because users execute billions of searches every month for all kinds of entertainment.

But the key advantage to P2P marketing is the engagement that comes from users searching for and downloading content on their own. Our view-through rates are very high, which indicates a high degree of interest.

Other data we deliver includes downloads per day, repeat views, search term performance, and geographic dispersal, down to the US city and town. We also provide private user comments and star ratings, and a demographic profile of the audience, based on the searches they conduct.

One question we get all the time is: “Isn’t P2P illegal?” The answer is no. What’s illegal is distributing someone’s content without her or his permission, whether it’s on the Web, on P2P, or on a cassette tape. P2P is a legitimate channel, just like the Web. Everything Jun Group distributes is 100% licensed, which is why we’ve been cleared by some pretty conservative legal departments.

Our advice to those entering the space is simple: Provide content that your consumers want to see. Position the brand as an enabler, not an interrupter. In doing this, you’ll create more powerful, memorable connections. Check the NIKE example below, which was a huge success in P2P and on the Web.


About Jun Group

Jun Group creates and distributes online entertainment to millions of consumers via P2P networks, viral video Websites, and social networks. We reach millions of highly targeted consumers in a way that is consistent, organic, and measurable. Our clients include Coca-Cola, Nike, Unilever, HBO, P&G, Glacéau, Frito-Lay, and others.

About the Author: Mitchell Reichgut



Mitchell Reichgut is founder and CEO of Jun Group Productions LLC. Jun Group produces and distributes online P2P programs for Fortune 500 brands, major entertainment companies, and media buyers and planners. Clients include Coca-Cola, Nike, Unilever, HBO, P&G, Glacéau, Frito-Lay, and others.

Before founding Jun Group, Mitchell headed up the New York interactive division of Bates Worldwide Advertising. As General Manager/Creative Director, he helped grow Bates Interactive into a 70-person integrated unit, with clients such as Perrier, Moet & Chandon, Warner-Lambert, Sauza Tequila, The White House Office of Drug Control Policy, EDS, and Avis.

Earlier, as Creative Director of the New York office of Think New Ideas, Mitchell supervised Web development for clients such as Budweiser, Chrysler, Sony, Reebok, IBM, Microsoft, Avon, Bloomingdale’s, NEC, and Continental Airlines.

A graduate of Boston University’s College of Communications, Mitchell began his career as an Art Director at Grey Advertising where he created print and television advertisements for clients such as Procter & Gamble, Parker Brothers, Topps, and Stride Rite.

Mitchell wrote and directed The Scene, a 20-episode online drama that was downloaded over 8 million in 90 countries. He has published two national comic book series, and he recently wrote and produced a new online drama entitled Stream, starring Whoopi Goldberg.



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