YouTube case study: Nike gets emotional to celebrate historic Cubs win

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This week saw a historic event in the world of baseball: the Chicago Cubs won the World Series for the first time in 108 years. Nike marked the occasion with the emotional video as that amassed 1 million YouTube views in less than a day.

The challenge

The win is a major milestone is US baseball history- the Cubs have been perennial underdogs in the league for over a century. The team’s ‘underachieving’ status was even referenced in a famous scene in the 1989 film Back To The Future II, which predicted the team winning in 2015 (just one year out).

This ad from Nike is a heartwarming celebration of the team’s hard work, and its singular focus and moving soundtrack make for a surprisingly emotional spot.

The solution

The ad, made by Wieden + Kennedy of Portland, Oregon, shows a young boy dreaming of winning the world series as he performs and narrates an imaginary game in Chicago's West Town's Eckhart Park

Product placement is subtle in the video, limited to logos on the boy’s shoes and gloves which would be easy to miss. But this is deliberate, with the focus on the historic moment and the brand message at the end, accompanied by the slogan "Goodbye Someday".

Willie Nelson's "Funny How Time Slips By" plays softly in the background, another imagined moment with its own call and response. Why hello there, my, it's been a long, long time.

The 60-second spot concluded a week-long “Make Someday Today” campaign from the brand, creating Chicago in a series of interactive outdoor installments which actually reacted to in-game moments.

Billboards evolved to react to game action, allowing us to participate in the excitement of the series and hero the players who helped make it happen.

The results

The ad was a huige success, getting 1.5 million views within a week and plenty of earned media via sports coverage.

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