“Customization Connect” – Nike PHOTOiD
It has been just a year since Nike launched their PHOTOiD campaign. This campaign allowed consumers to use their mobile phones to choose colors they liked from the world around them, and have these colors incorporated into a customized pair of Nike running shoes. This was one of the first campaigns to exploit visual interactivity to engage consumers, and although the campaign is no longer active, it is still a great example of creative use of innovation for marketing.
Nike has been giving consumers the option of creating customized shoes, bags, and clothes since 1999 with its NIKEiDservice. People can choose from a set of special colors and materials on the http://www.nikeid.com site, and their specialized product is shipped to them. Nike wanted to go further, provide consumers with access to the NIKEiD service through their mobile phones. PhotoiD was intended to strengthen Nike’s position as a brand that leads by innovation and pioneering new experiences.
The service was very easy for a consumer to use.
- First, they would simply find some colors in the real world that they thought would look good in sneakers, and take a photo of the colors with their phone.
- Then, using MMS, they would send the image to a special Nike number.
- The service would identify the two dominant colors in the image, match them with colors available from Nike, and generate a picture of a Nike sneaker in those colors
- Finally, the consumer would receive an image of their shoe superimposed on top of the original image they had sent.
The entire process, from the time the MMS was first sent, was usually a matter of seconds, making it a very interactive consumer experience.
Once the consumer had received the special image, they could save it to use as wallpaper, forward it on to a friend to see, or go to the NIKEiD website and enter a unique DESIGNiD code to actually purchase the specially designed shoe.
This campaign is a very good example of visual interactivity, the idea of using the image capture and processing capabilities of a mobile phone as a means of consumer interaction. This growing area of mobile marketing includes 2-D codes (eg QR Codes), image recognition, image zoning, and augmented reality. Although the concept behind this campaign is quite simple – identify the dominant colors in a photo and match them to existing product colors – it is actually quite a technical challenge. Mobile phone cameras are not at all consistent in how they treat color, and effects from various light levels, shading, etc make it quite difficult to accurately pick out and match colors. Here is a fun video that Nike used to promote this service.
The power of this campaign was that it matched state of the art visual technology with an very easy to understand and use interface, and applied it to a strong consumer desire – the wish to more easily CUSTOMIZE THEIR LIVES.