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Why Nike invested in a women's surf film

By Shelby Stanger
May 10, 2011 6:53 AM

Nike 6.0 is about to release “Leave a Message,” an all-girl’s surf film that showcases some of the best female surfing seen to date. It will be available to download later this month.


We caught up with 6.0 North America Brand Manager Zach Boon to find out the marketing strategy behind the film and why girls’ surfing is such an important category for the brand.


When did you decide to sponsor an all-girls surf movie?

Carissa MooreCarissa Moore in the film.

Jason Kenworthy, who has done an amazing job bringing many of the best up-and-coming girls in the sport to Nike, approached us about the idea a couple of years ago.


Girls are often times only seen during surf event webcasts where they are constrained by competition, waves and format.


We had the opportunity to showcase our team in the best conditions possible and truly bring a new level of performance by female surfers to the world.

Why did you decide to invest in it? 

The decision to invest in our athletes gets made the minute they sign with us. Once the team came together, we had the easy decision to invest in the project.


We also sat at the Surfer Poll Awards a few years ago and saw how under-represented girls were in the surf video category. That clinched our gut feeling that we owed it to the girls, and the people they inspire, to show their true talent potential.


Is Nike the sole brand behind the film? How big of an investment was it?

Coco HoCoco Ho

Yes, this is solely a Nike 6.0 project. The girls all have other sponsors, of course. In some cases it is great to see how companies can band together over a mutual interest and get the best clips and music for the part that showcases the athletes that we all stand behind.


The investment against this is considerable when you factor that it is not just a moment in time - it is the culmination of a lot of people’s work and attention over the last few years.


As we got more into it, it became a bigger investment. We are treating it like we would treat any guys’ movie and I think what’s special, too, is besides being a core surf movie, I think it will also be a lot more appealing to mainstream media because all the girls have such unique personalities and interests.


With the girls, they are about much more than just surfing and playing golf.


Do you know when the last all-girls surf film was released? It seems like this is one of the only ones I have seen in a while.

Lakey PetersonLakey Peterson

Honestly, we did not do a ton of research to look into the past of female surf movie projects. We just knew that the level of surfing of these six girls has yet to be seen on film in one place.


Are there only Nike athletes featured?

The movie is centered around the six girls on the 6.0 team - Malia, Monyca, Coco, Laura, Lakey and Carissa.


What is Nike's involvement in girls surfing? Is it growing? Is this as a huge growth category for 6.0?

Our position around investing in our athletes is something that will only continue to grow. We treat surfing with the highest respect, just as we do with all sports. Our involvement in surfing is an opportunity to bring innovation, elevate athletes to the highest possible level, and give consumers experiences that they can’t get anywhere else. We are committed to supporting a healthy, vibrant and growing surf community. It’s exciting to be part of an era where there’s a changing of the guard.


How are you promoting the movie? What’s the marketing plan?

Malia ManuelMalia Manuel

We are having a movie premiere on May 19th in LA at California Science Center. It will be like any red carpet surf movie premiere - this one just happens to feature women.


We will make a lot of content out of the film. There are teasers out in magazines and editorial is happening right now, so the premiere will be next big excitement for the movie.


The film itself will be free to download starting on May 24th, and we did a partnership with Surfline where there will be a part from each girl on its site on different days. We partnered a bit deeper with Surfline, and sites like Surfing, Surfer, Transworld and Freesurf will be getting content as well.


Will it be available to buy at retail? 

We will have a DVD at retail but it’s not something we are looking to make money off of. Were using the video more as a promo item, and since kids consume video through mobile and web, we figured we would do it that way rather than just on DVD.




More on: Nike 6.0, Zach Boon

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