American sportswear giant Nike is aiming to become India’s most loved sports brand by surpassing its rivals when it comes to youth-focused events and tournaments. The company has embarked on an extensive marketing campaign which stretches from Facebook adverts to college events in order to win the affection of the youngsters of the nation. Nike is associated with cricket and football in India but it is pinning its hopes on running in order to strike a chord with the youth.

“In India, there is an incredible revolution in terms of running. It has long legs because it is a sport that is easier to embrace. There is a huge momentum as it is becoming a community sport.  There’s a race practically every weekend,” says Avinash Pant, Marketing Director, Nike India. Nike plans to tie up with college festivals to promote the product. ”Nike is looking at college festivals in order to grow the sport of running at the grassroot, amongst young runners. Hence, the choice of conducting races at college festivals where participation would be high and also fun for young runners,” says Pant.

Nike’s youth orientated marketing strategy comes on the heels of rival Adidas launching their All Original Superstars campaign in colleges across India. Nike ended this year’s popular Nike Outrun series with its first-ever ‘Night Run’ at Mood Indigo, the cultural fest of IIT Powai, Mumbai. Indian Tennis player and Nike athlete Kyra Shroff flagged off the race, while running enthusiasts and celebrities Milind Soman and Gul Panag ran alongside 1300 young runners at the 4K ‘Night Run’ college race. Avinash Pant said, “The Nike Outrun series at college fests is a great way to introduce running to the youth while also making it fun by pairing it with the overall cultural fest. We are truly encouraged by the enormous success of the entire Outrun series and this night race at Mood Indigo is the perfect finale.”

“If you go closer to the footwear wall on running, you will see three classifications in that category – barefoot, neutral and stable. These cater to three different gaits – those who have a neutral gait, those who underpronate and those who overpronate,” Pant says. Nike has stated that it will use their partnership with world class sportsmen to their advantage. ”One of our philosophies is to listen to the voice of the athlete – that voice could be one of (Rafael) Nadal or an aspirant playing in the KSCA right now. We are maintaining our laser-sharp focus on the one who’s staying up late at night to catch the English Premier League, for example, watching his players closely to become like them” says Pant.

Nike’s recent Hypervenom series sported by footballers Neymar, Wayne Rooney and Ibrahimovic was launched in August to great success. The sports industry is growing at a fast rate but Pinakiranjan Mishra, Consumer Products Expert, says that two-thirds of the market remains in disarray. “This is an industry which is growing at a robust rate. Even if you ignore pricing and other challenges, the fact remains that the market is under-penetrated,” Mishra says. “The opportunity is abundant as India is a country where the per capita usage of footwear is one of the lowest, but the average Indian’s spend on footwear is doubling over short periods.”

Tags assigned to this article:
Avinash Pant IIT Mumbai Mood Indigo nike sports Youth Events

Around The World

Our Publications