Why was Nike’s ‘For Naija’ World Cup Jersey so Successful?

So I remember hearing that Nike had received 3 million pre-orders for Nigeria’s World Cup Jersey. My immediate thought was ‘how sway’?

I love my country. I’m passionate about football. But I’ve only ever owned one Nigerian jersey that I’m pretty sure was a knock off. We hardly get far in World Cups, why buy a jersey and wear it for 3 games with little hopes of qualification? Which made me ponder on the question – how on earth did Nike sell 3 million Nigerian Jerseys?

Hype. Hype sells. The first thing I heard about the jerseys was that 3 million pre-orders were placed. That stoked my intrigue. I wanted to see what could only be magic that Nike had produced in convincing 3 million people to pre-purchase. To my surprise, when I saw the jersey I was not surprised. The first image I saw wasn’t the jersey, it was a collection of recognisable people wearing it. Alex Iwobi, Wizkid and a whole bunch of cool looking cats. Then I noticed the key element of the jersey design – uniqueness.

It was unlike any other Naija jersey I had previously seen. The usual Nigerian jersey was whatever variation of green and white a Nike intern could come up with. This was different. It looked well thought out, from the creative design to the fit and quality of materials used. Upon further research into the jersey the design embodied heritage. The black arrows signified the shape of an eagle with the jersey possessing a feathered like complex and the badge was modelled after that of the 1996 gold medal olympic winning team.

Hype, celebrity, design and heritage. Four elements Nike used to market a successful campaign. Four elements it used to have the London Nike store packed out upon release. Four elements to pre-sell 3 million units. Without hype would I have looked up the jersey? Possibly not. Without celebrities wearing it would I have been interested in the design? Probably not. Without a good design would I have cared about the heritage? Certainly not; and without heritage would I have looked for where to buy the product? No.

At GAINAGE, if we want to operate successfully we have to think about utilising these four elements. We need to design innovative products, which are either appealing for their aesthetic or function. We need to market these products with influencers and celebrities, who engage communities that feed into our brand vision and ethos. Our products have to have heritage – a story behind them that make them interesting to buy. The consumer needs to be informed about their GAINAGE product, have an understanding of why it was made and what its production was influenced by.

Finally, we need to generate hype surrounding a campaign. We could achieve this through social media marketing, word of mouth, producing engaging video content, competitions and celebrity endorsement. Or through something as rumour made true. Nike still have not verified the 3 million statistic and have no data analysis to prove that amount of pre-orders were placed. To put this into context, the total Man United jerseys sold that year was 2.85 million.

We cannot verify if Nike’s 3 million figure is accurate, but after the success of the campaign does that really matter? What is perceived as truth will be so.

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