How many times have you had a message impact you that came in a unique non-traditional way? With the continued development of web 2.0 technologies, it is becoming increasing critical that brands interact with their audience, not just push out content.

Nike was looking for a new idea to impact their market in a big way and yet seem to be part of a bigger idea that had consumer support.  Something that had not been done before, yet was cool enough to be clearly noticed, remembered and have the potential to go immediately viral.  A pretty tall order considering the venue, 3,642 kilometres of various grades of roads in both rural and urban settings. Nike’s agency, Wieden Kennedy’s New York office was up for the challenge and created the Nike “Chalk Box Project.”   The agency developed an idea where messages were able to be “tagged” along the route of the Tour DeFrance Race as if they were part of the landscape of the race.  These inspirational messages were sent in via text messages to a vehicle ahead of the riders competing.  The program resulted in Nike demonstrating their continued support of both Lance Armstrong’s comeback as well as all riders in the race. Additionally, Nike was able to insert their brand outside of the traditional advertising channels resulting in viewers being able to continue to follow the race as well as be impacted by the brand. Brands like Nike, continue to place themselves squarely in front of their target audience at every turn, literally.  These unconventional strategies continue to provide greater opportunities that are part of a bigger idea that has high value and high returns on investment and builds sustainable brand awareness.

“Guerilla” or “grass roots marketing,” continues to give brands more opportunities to reach their audiences through non-traditional channels, resulting in bigger, expansive ideas that reach consumers where they congregate most.  Interaction between brands and targeted markets continues to grow at a rapid pace and only strategies that go outside the traditional channels will have continued success to truly have an impact.  The Internet as we now know it, will continue to act as a starting point or catalyst to wider based strategies that include multiple touch points with brands and their audiences through broad based channels.

As Nike and many others demonstrated, the most efficient way to reach audiences may start with the Internet, but finish with broad based customer interaction in various forms, venues and tactics – from face paint to Facebook.