Nike’s Creative Use of Chalk

July 13, 2009

Roach LivestrongI love stumbling across ideas that are both creative and engaging, which is why I took notice when I read about Nike’s Chalkbot initiative tied to this year’s Tour de France.  This creative campaign that allows cycling fans to “own a piece of the road at the Tour de France” is not only newsworthy in relation to this popular event, but its connection to the LIVESTRONG Lance Armstrong Foundation also makes it very relevant to a lot of people, especially those touched by cancer in some way in their lives.

The program is really simple.  You can send a message of hope, inspiration and encouragement via Nike’s Web site, the Chalkbot’s Twitter account or by texting LIVESTRONG and then wait for notification once your message meets the pavement.  The 40-character limitation doesn’t provide a lot of room to say much, but it still allows you to get a message across and/or acknowledge someone special.

From what I can tell, the campaign is pretty integrated and the marketing team appears to be doing a good job using both traditional and non-traditional tools to get the word out, including video (below), media relations, social networks and advertising.  The national entertainment show “The Insider” already has referred to it as the breakout star of the Tour de France.

I’m not sure how many people have used the service — I would guess a lot — but considering the race takes place over 23 days and covers 3,500 kilometers, Nike has a pretty big canvas to use. I’m still waiting for confirmation that my message for a friend who recently won his battle with a rare form of cancer has been chalked, but I’m optimistic I’ll see something one of these days.  In the meantime, they provide a nice jpeg of what it will look like.