SBD/January 20, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

Nike Introduces Nike+ FuelBand Wristband, To Go On Sale Feb. 22

The Nike+ FuelBand broadcasts a person's status with a spectrum of colors
Nike introduced a "high-tech wristband Thursday that provides instant feedback and motivation along with a rich source of marketing data for the Oregon company," according to Charles Pope of the Portland OREGONIAN. Dubbed Nike+ FuelBand and unveiled at a "splashy production" in N.Y. emceed by NBC's Jimmy Fallon, the wristband "gives users a minute-by-minute accounting of how many calories they burn and steps they walk." Using proprietary software, it also has the ability to "compare a user's status with anybody else's." It broadcasts a person's status with a "spectrum of color ranging from red (failure) to green (success)," while yellow "indicates something in between." The device, which Nike will "sell for $149 is designed to sync automatically with an iPod or smart phone or computer, giving the user a detailed blueprint of activity levels and progress." It also allows users to "interact -- and compare -- with other users over Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms." Nike said that pre-sales in the U.S. "began Thursday but the device won't be delivered or on sale widely until Feb. 22." Foreign sales will come after that. Pope noted the wristband is a "major focus for the company's future growth, and a major push in what the company describes as the 'intersection of sport and data.'" Nike Brand President Charlie Denson said that the wristband is a "natural extension of the company's effort to combine shoes and apparel and other pedestrian products with high-tech devices that, together, will produce healthier people and profits." Denson and other Nike officials "dismissed potential concerns that the data could be misused." Denson: "We're providing feedback only on the data you provide us, which is your activity. It's not a data acquisition strategy" (OREGONLIVE.com, 1/19). Denson noted one of the things that technology "enables you to do is broaden the consumer experience and give the consumer a new and exciting set of services that can help define what the brand means to them." He added, "The experience here is the most important part and being able to provide that feedback literally on an immediate basis is what we're doing" ("Squawk on the Street," CNBC, 1/19).

RISING STOCK: In Portland, Allan Brettman reports Nike's stock price "broke through the $100 barrier this week, in the process hitting a split-adjusted all-time high." It closed Thursday on the NYSE at $101.58. Weeks of marketing for the Nike+ FuelBand "preceded by a social media campaign inspired Sterne Agee analyst Sam Poser in New York to reiterate his previous buy recommendation and set a target price of $110." Poser wrote, "Based on conversations with athletic specialty, sporting goods, and family footwear retailers, we are very confident that new line extensions, new technologies, and some retro offerings will continue to drive the double digit sales momentum through 2012 and into 2013" (Portland OREGONIAN, 1/20). At presstime, Nike shares were trading at $101.62, up 0.04% from Thursday's close (THE DAILY).
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