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Social Networking The NIKE Way
True City – make the hidden visible


It seems as though the Nike brand has always been about more than just sportswear and sneakers. People are passionate about the brand, and with products like the Nike Plus, Nike has become a regular part of their customers’ lives.

Now Nike is taking this one step further with their mobile app campaign Nike True City. This is a location-based city guide – with a social media component – for six of Europe’s most interesting cities, all done with Nike style and flair. Check it out.

London, Paris, Berlin, Milan, Amsterdam, and Barcelona – six of the most interesting and culturally active cities in the world. There is so much happening in each of these locations that the real question is how to find what matches your interests. This is where Nike’s True City app comes in.

The True City app was created by agency AKQA, and tries to “make the hidden visible” through the knowledge and insight of Nike Insiders – local tastemakers who pride themselves on being at the forefront of things happening in their cities.

City Information

The app covers a wide range of content from food and drink to art, shopping, culture, music, and sport. The information is geo-tagged and displayed on a local map with icons. You can also use a filter to only display content entries of a certain type to help focus your activity.


When you touch one of the items, you get a small window with more details about that place, some personal comments from the contributor, the location, photos, etc. And to support the social network aspects of the app, you can leave a comment, share it with a friend, add more information, or add it to your favorites.

There is also a special QR code reader, which will let consumers “unlock” special content in certain locations.


Curators and Crowd-sourcing

The information comes from two sources: “Nike Insiders” as well as the general public.

The Nike Insiders are designated people in each city that share their favorite places and hidden treasures. According to Nike, “these cultural authorities take pride in owning their cities and sharing their knowledge with likeminded Nike lovers.”

The Nike Insiders also each have a personal profile page so you get to know them a bit, their lives, their interests.


And of course anyone from the general public is also able to register and add their own unique perspective and discoveries about the city. The best of these citizen contributors, as judged by their peers, will have the chance to become Nike Insiders themselves.

Product engagement

As this is after all a marketing app, Nike has also included a fair amount of information to keep people engaged with the products.

Naturally – since it’s a city guide – there is a store finder with click to call, website links, and a way for consumers to add comments.

Even more interesting is what Nike calls the Buzz Filter. This provides previews of upcoming events and product launches. A lot of Nike fans are passionately interested in each new model that Nike releases. This app provides not only photos of upcoming products, but also a launch date countdown time, plus information about the design and designer.


Marketing the app

Nike has launched a widespread PR campaign to get the message out to Nike fans, and is advertising the True City app on its website. They have also produced a very slick video that introduces the app and gives a flavor of what to expect. It’s worth watching.

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Some people in the blogoshere have questioned the usefulness of a city guide from a brand such as Nike, and suppose that consumers will prefer to get their information from companies whose entire business is providing data.

However, I think this view misses the point entirely. A consumer’s real problem these days is not in finding enough information, rather it is finding the most relevant information.

We all know that one of the best ways to find relevant information is through the recommendations of people who share your interests. The Nike community is exactly that: a group of people that share some common interests, values, and activities. In my view, brand focused social apps such as this may well prove to be an excellent source of great recommendations for the people in the community.

Also of interest:
  • Nike PHOTOiD: Using Color To Connect With Customers
  • Nike talks to athletes using bluetooth
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