Nike is launching its biggest ever women's push

Nike sees women as a hugely important part of its customer base.

The company believes its women’s line could add $US2 billion of additional sales by 2017.

And to make sure that happens, Nike has just invested in its biggest ever advertising push targeting women.

Nike’s #BetterFotIt campaign debuted with a 60-second ad during the MTV Movie Awards on Sunday night.

Unlike other Nike campaigns, which usually focus on already-accomplished athletes, the idea of this push is to encourage women to challenge themselves, even when they’re at the beginning of their fitness journeys and way out of their comfort zone.

Alongside the TV ads, Nike is also encouraging women to share their experiences on social media, using the #BetterForIt hashtag, and it has launched a “90-day better for it challenge” which combines workouts from the Nike+ Training Club App and the Nike+ Running app.

Targeting women specifically is not a new idea for Nike, but this is its largest concerted global marketing effort to date. Nike expects its women’s business to grow faster than its men’s business, from $US5 billion at the end of this fiscal year to $US7 billion by 2017, according to Bloomberg. The company will open a second women’s-only store in Shanghai at the end of the month.

Nike says, in a news story about the new campaign on its website, that it already has a digital community of 70 million women who look to the brand when it comes to sports and fitness. That community is growing and becoming more active. There are more female runners in North America on its Nike+ app (54% female, 46% male,) and globally the amount of female runners joining the app is growing at a faster pace than men, especially across Europe and China.

Other brands too are stepping up their female-focused marketing.

Under Armour, which recently surpassed Adidas to become the second biggest sportswear brand in the US, launched its largest-ever global women’s marketing campaign earlier this year and signed deals with supermodel Gisele Bundchen and ballerina Misty Copeland. Meanwhile, Lululemon is offering a wider selection of styles, colours, and prints, and has improved its customer service, according to Reuters.

The new Nike campaign is similar in style to a much-lauded ad currently running in the UK: “This Girl Can” for government organisation Sport England. Where “This Girl Can” differs from the Nike campaign, however, is that it celebrates women of all shapes, sizes, age, and experience who are participating in sport (whereas the Nike campaign shows women of a similar, slender size.)

“This Girl Can” has been watched more than 7.8 million times on YouTube since it launched in January.

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