This Banner Works If You Do

Hi! I know it’s been a while, but I just had an extremely frustrating experience with a banner ad from Nike and I have to share.

It appeared in Yahoo! Mail just a few minutes ago. The big type caught my eye. Nike is a big brand (you may have heard of them), so I paid attention expecting to witness a phenomenal banner execution that I could learn from.

Wow. No.

I’ve been running in Vibram’s Five Fingers for over a year and don’t expect to be buying a traditional running shoe for a long time. And when I did wear traditional running shoes, Nike wasn’t my brand of choice– the fit is never right for me. All this to say, maybe I’m not in their “target audience” and that’s why I’m not getting their strategy.

But let’s say that being a women 25-35 who runs regularly (or almost regularly in the last few, hot months) and subscribes to Runner’s World does makes me a qualified target. The media buyer gets some points for the placement.

That is where my compliments for this ad and brand experience end.

So, I was curious, “What is Nike claiming its shoe and I can do together to yield awesome fitness results?” Well, I didn’t find out by moving my mouse over the banner. No, the only interactivity in the banner is to change the color of the shoe. I’m offended. I’m sure some research firm found that color is the number one factor in the athletic shoe buying journey of women and it seemed like this was all Nike needed to do to sell me the shoes. But, seriously? What does this shoe do? I care about the color, but there are actually other factors in my decision-making. My female brain is able to hold at least 3-4 purchase criteria at once. Okay, I’m easily offended, but you’re trying to sell me some sort of shoe technology, so at least treat me like I have a brain.

I certainly didn’t want to reward Nike, their creative agency, and the research firm with a clickthrough to their site, but I did. Still in research mode, I thought, “Maybe there is an awesome site experience that isn’t done justice by this ad that I should check out and maybe find out what these shoes do.” My expectations are way too high.

Click 1

Okay, wouldn’t you expect to get to a page of a website that contained, if not a full explanation of the shoe, at least a passing mention of it? Well, my friend, you’re expectations are far too high as well. I was dumped on the front page of Shop Nike with no mention of the shoes in the banner. Luckily the site uses a traditional navigation approach, so I figured I was only one more click away.

Click 2

Okay Nike, you’re really making your potential customers work now. If clicking on “Women” in the navigation bar doesn’t take me to a page containing picture, or at least a mention, of these wonder shoes in fabulous colors, I’m pretty sure you don’t care about me at all. I’m starting to form very negative impressions about your brand. In fact, this whole adventure took so long that I forgot the name of the shoe and had to go back to my inbox and look at the banner to remind myself. I promise you Nike, if I wasn’t into experience strategy, I wouldn’t have the attention span. I soldiered on because I was interested in how hard it would be to actually find the shoe on the site.

Click 3

So, the shoe content area on the page didn’t contain the name of the shoe I was hunting (Trainer One, which I learned back at my inbox), so I clicked the “more” option expanding the module as you see above. The Trainer One wasn’t there, so I actually clicked again on “all women’s shoes.”

Click 4

Finally, the mythical shoe! And it’s in the first position in the page. So, selling the Trainer One is obviously a priority for the Women’s Shoe division of Nike. I’d imagine their sales are far less than the Men’s Shoe division and the Clothing division which is why they don’t get to message on the homepage, but they should at least get a placement on the Women’s category page. Failing that, they should ensure that their Trainer One banners link here, where the shoe can be found quickly by interested visitors, or even better to the page that actually answers the question, “What do the shoes do?” That page is one more click away.

Click 5

This is where I expected to land on my first click from my inbox. I was reading my e-mail, so you can assume that I might have better things to do than chase down a shoe whose benefits I don’t know (I mean, unless the colors are just super awesome…rolling eyes.) I’m not actually sure the benefits of the shoe are on this page. I basically took this screenshot and bailed to write this post. But, unless their strategy was to frustrate UX bloggers (or sometimes bloggers) to the point of writing about their shoe for a buzz boost, this whole experience was a complete failure.

Nike has the savvy and money to do this right. There is no excuse for how bad this experience is.

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