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Nike’s video on Facebook – Is Nike cheating? I say yes!


Posted on 21st May, by Tom Williams in Misc. 10 Comments

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I picked up a tweet from Jean-Philippe (JP) Maheu, CEO of Publicis Modem, about a great execution by Nike on a Facebook video.  I have a lot of respect for JP, having followed his career and hearing him speak several times, most recently at the last Kellogg School of Management Marketing Conference.

So, I naturally hit his link to the video to see how good this execution was.  I was instantly Shocked, however, to discover that the only way I could view this video was to FIRST click “LIKE” on the FB Fan Page.  Let me make this perfectly clear.

Nike made me commit to Liking their video BEFORE they let me see it.

Nike requiring users to click LIKE before they could view their video

Nike requiring users to click LIKE before they could view their video

So… I clicked “Like” and then was permitted to watch the video.  To Nike’s credit – it was a beautiful execution.  Once of the best I have ever seen.  A lot of time, thought and money went into creating this stellar “mini movie” and it is well worth the watch.  That being said, I would have certainly appreciated the option of clicking “Like” after I had a chance to view the movie.

What makes this even worse is the way Facebook auto-broadcasts your feelings to the world.  So my forced “Liking” of the Nike video was broadcast to all my friends.  Of course the folks at Nike knew this would happen – that’s why they did it.  They’re not stupid.  Maybe a little shady, but not stupid.

Message broadcast after Nike's trick

This is a classic example of a big company smoking the social  media bong and getting high on the power of the medium.  They then go out and break the rules like a bunch of underage kids taking their dad’s car out for a spin, hoping they don’t get busted by the cops.

Nike, consider yourselves Busted.

UPDATE: MAY 24, 2010

When I originally wrote this blog, I was under the impression that the “Like” was related specifically to the video…much because the video instructs you to click on “Like” in order to watch it.  The Like button actually is a standard Page feature found commonly around Facebook.

How does this change my outlook?  Well, it does change it a bit.  Had I realized this, I could have surfed around the Nike page a bit, determined if I Liked the page and then decided if I liked it enough to click on Like and see their video.  So, instead of Nike cheating, I would say they are actually being foolish.  They are actually deterring people from watching the video that they spent thousands to produce, as Wassan commented below – she would have just skipped the video and not clicked “Like”. It reminds me a little of the blog post I wrote about a company who wanted me to fill out a huge form in order to watch their commercial.

There is another piece, however, that is more shady.  Nike is not very forthcoming about what clicking “Like” does.  According to Paul Adams who commented on this blog, my clicking on Like now gives Nike the ability to push stuff through my News Feed.  Not sure if this is Nike being shady or Facebook privacy / security being poor… or both.

So…. I change my original position.  Nike is not Cheating, but they’re on the line.

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10 Responses to “Nike’s video on Facebook – Is Nike cheating? I say yes!”

  1. Wassan says:

    Nice catch Tom. Its pretty easy for it to fly under the radar when its Nike, but I can see this being a tactic used by more potentially controversial Pages. I personally would have skipped watching the video, just because I dislike being bullied into marketing someone’s product.
    Way to call them out.

  2. If I “like” a page it is more often than not to keep it as a bookmark of sorts in my profile.

    After I hit “like” I go to my profile page and remove the “like” post from the wall to (presumably) keep it out of the news feed.

    I love oxymorons: jumbo shrimp; civil war; friendly fire; Facebook privacy…

  3. Dara Bell says:

    Seems it is a rewording and they feel they are doing something clever. I heard a better from Cheetos. Like and Get Free Cheetos.

  4. Nate Riggs says:

    Really good catch on this one, Tom. Blatant case of too much focus on shiny social technology and not nearly enough consideration (or respect for that matter) of how humans work. Why on earth would I ever want a company brand to hijack my social outposts like that… Nike #FAIL

  5. Nate Riggs says:

    @robinteractive – you just cracked me up! Lolz… :)

    “I love oxymorons: jumbo shrimp; civil war; friendly fire; Facebook privacy…” LOVE it!

  6. ngassmann says:

    Reminds me of all of the spam fan pages that require the same thing to see “Banned Disney Videos”. The practice is super shady and I’m not sure why Facebook permits it. I usually report it as spam since it broadcasts something that you didn’t intend to have broadcast to all of your friends.

    There is a way around it though. Firebug + find the div that is set to “display: none” and remove that attribute. Booyah! Watch the video without having to “like” a page.

  7. Nick seguin says:

    But you still liked it and watched it. It’s like college tuition arguement – it keeps going up and people keep paying. Until a generation goes straight to workforce, why not? They put you in a position to distribute them (positively) or don’t participate/consume. They are taking more control, and you did exactly what they wanted.

  8. [...] example came to my attention through Nick Seguin of Dynamit, and the Innogage blog. Honestly, I agree that Williams of Innogage is overstating the severity of the example — I [...]

  9. Ted Coine says:

    Busted indeed! Thanks for calling them out, Tom. Shady, shabby, cheesy… and how about this one: beneath them? Nike doesn’t need to cheat to win. The fact that some of their marketing leaders don’t get that is unfortunate, and lame.

  10. Paul Adams says:

    It’s actually worse than you describe. ‘Liking’ also gives Nike permission to post updates into your newsfeed. Check it out here: bit.ly/cYBI7E

    @Nick seguin: The problem is that what is happening here isn’t transparent. It’s not clear to Facebook users that ‘clicking like to play the video’ will put it on their profile, and worse, that they have given Nike permission to send anything into their newsfeed.

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