Marketing Lessons from @Nike and Jordan’s NBA All-Star Weekend Slam Dunk

When it comes to marketing (and especially social/digital), Nike is a company that doesn’t just do it. They get it. Years ago Nike saw potential in the digital landscape. They saw it as an opportunity to tell their story and connect with consumers like never before. So, they invested in the online world.

The investment is paying off. Today Nike is leveraging social media, owned channels and the physical space to connect with consumers in unique ways. And, their Pearl Pavilion activation during the NBA All-Star Weekend is a perfect example of how they’re merging all their assets together to create the ultimate experience.

Jordan’s Pearl Pavilion celebrated the brand’s most iconic moments and allowed consumers to celebrate “the Michael Jordan in them”. The exhibit celebrated the brand’s athletes, explored the history of the brand and MJ’s career, created custom content for each consumer and allowed people to recreate some of Michael Jordan’s greatest game-winning shots. You can read the full release from Nike about it here.

Pearl Pavilion was a stunning and beautiful consumer experience that generated buzz and excitement. And while we might not all have the budget to create something of its magnitude, there are still takeaways for us all. Here are four key ones:


No. 1- Storytelling is Key

Nike is a pro at storytelling, so it comes as no surprise that storytelling was woven into the entire Pearl Pavilion experience. The idea was simple: To celebrate the Michael Jordan in everyone. To execute the story, consumers were first guided through the rich history of the iconic brand and Michael Jordan himself. Once inspired by the greatness, consumers stepped into MJ’s shoes and created one of his greatest moments. You’ll see from their video how the experience told a complete and powerful story for the consumer:

Takeaway: Storytelling is a powerful way to connect the dots with your consumer, whether the experience is online or offline. Storytelling makes whatever you are trying to convey more consumable and meaningful. People connect with and remember stories, so tell them.


No. 2- Simple is Best

Even though Pearl Pavilion had a “wow” factor to it, the idea was a simple one at its core. Everything laddered back to the “story” and big idea that there’s MJ in everyone. I could walk you through the entire concept and activation in two minutes simply from reading about it online. That’s powerful.

Takeaway: If you are trying to convey a message or feeling to your consumer, don’t try to overcomplicate things. You want your message/idea to be easy to grasp and remember, otherwise your message will get lost in translation. The Pearl Pavilion experience is a great reminder that simple ideas are often the best ideas. It’s how you execute and bring that idea to life that is key.


No. 3- Empower Consumers to Tell Your Story

Throughout the Pearl Pavilion experience, consumers were presented several opportunities to create shareable content, ranging from a photo booth picture to a video of their epic court skills. The content created was inline with the content the Jordan brand shared socially. It was hip, sleek and extremely shareable. Here’s a look at some of the content created for the consumers:

Takeaway: If you take a close look at Nike’s platforms across categories you’ll see that they don’t push a lot of content on their channels compared to some other brands. They understand that consumers can tell a powerful story for them. They focus their energy on creating quality content (not quantity), engaging with their consumers and empowering them to talk about their brand (like these examples above). Word of mouth is still the most powerful marketing tool, so figure out how you can empower your consumers to tell your story.


No. 4- Personalize

When consumers entered Pearl Pavilion, they received RFID bracelets to unlock personalized images and videos (as seen above) on their phone. From what I can tell in my search, their were different types of cuts for consumers, providing a fun and personal experience. This personalized content is a great way to thank consumers, while also empowering them to share.

Takeaway: Technology and social media enable us to make consumers feel special and valued. And, I believe that consumers are more likely to share and remember personal content. It’s worth taking the extra time to create a personal experience for your consumer. It will make the content more memorable, shareable and buzz-worthy.


While we may not be able to create a Pearl Pavilion with our budgets, we can take away a thing or two from this consumer experience. Remember these powerful lessons from this awesome Jordan brand activation: Tell a story, personalize the content, keep things simple and empower your consumers. If you do, you’ll be on your way to a powerful marketing campaign.



What stood out to you with the Pearl Pavilion consumer experience? Share your thoughts below!

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