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Breaking2: Nike's Marathon Marketing Success

Some are calling Nike’s Breaking2 project the best two-hour ad in history.

It was a two year, multi-million-dollar project where Nike employed a team of scientists to help three athletes attempt to break the two-hour marathon barrier.

Though their attempt fell just shy of the mark, with Kenyan marathoner Eliud Kipchoge running 41.8 kilometres in 2 hours and 25 seconds, this was faster than the world record set by Dennis Kimetto (2:02:57).

However it could not be recorded as an official record because Nike used a group of pacesetters throughout the race. They also had an electric car projecting a green line which showed the ideal pace.

Nike fitted all three athletes with customised racing shoes, Zoom Vaporfly Elite, which have been in the works for three to four years, all part of the Breaking2 project. They streamed the race live on Facebook and Twitter which took place in a controlled environment around Monza’s Formula One course in Milan, Italy.

The brand impact

The live broadcast was an overwhelming marketing success for Nike, it received over half a million views on YouTube (so far) and a whopping 5.3 million on Facebook. People could also use a custom Nike Vaporfly Elite shoe emoji on Twitter.

Replay the race:

Traditionally, Nike's marketing has focused on TV ads and extravagant deals with some of the world's biggest athletes. Breaking2 was a step away from that model, combining sports science and technology innovation with social media.

It even drew congratulations from Nike's rival brand ..

Adidas is also planning its own marathon under two hours, complete with its own shoe launch too. With two years of development under its belt, Adidas also claims its barrier break will happen on an established course. Notably, official world record-holder Kimetto is an Adidas athlete.

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