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This morning’s Nike Training Club session on the beach. 

I wasn’t sure about titling this blog post ‘Better For It’. Mostly because I know that of all the people who know that the phrase comes from Nike’s current women’s fitness campaign, 70% will write this off as a fitness post that they can’t be bothered read because let’s face it – unless you’re into fitness, fitness can be bloody boring to hear about.

So let me be upfront. This post is sort of about fitness, and yes it’s about Nike. No this hasn’t been paid for. In fact, contrary to popular belief, to date I have never taken (or been offered, lol) financial compensation or remuneration to talk about Nike. I mean, there’s no exclusivity here – I wear several sportswear brands (including adidas – I think I wear my Gazelles are the most worn sneaker I own). Yes, I have been gifted Nike product. Yes, I’ve been invited to attend their events. But just to clarify, no, to date I have never signed any contract of any sort with Nike.

So you’re probably wondering why I bother promo-ing the brand. The thing is, Nike got me into fitness in the first place. This time last year was basically the start of my interest in any sustained physical activity over a period of time longer than a month. I got invited by their PR company to join a few others in training for a few weeks leading up to Nike’s NTC Tour Sydney event, including actually attending the event. They’d give me gear, give me training support and get me there. In return they would want me to give it my best shot and share my experience if I enjoyed it. Not one to turn down a free trip to Sydney, I said yes. I never really expected to stick to it, let alone enjoy it, but I did and I guess the rest is history.

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Me at the Auckland Nike Women’s Studio – which you can also go to, it’s free. 

I’m pretty lucky. I’m well aware that the offer of free gear and trips doesn’t happen to everyone, but the thing I admire about Nike is their huge effort to promote women’s fitness – the free training sessions they offer and the community they have created. It’s cool. Also, I think if I can be converted into a fitness, ANYONE can. (It’s going to sound ridiculous but there’s something about the feeling of almost dying and then coming out the other end alive, that is kind of addictive. Trust me.)

Now that is out of the way, I want to tell you about the latest Nike ‘campaign’ as such. I want to tell you about it mostly because I’m quite interested in advertising and branding and marketing and I think this is one of Nike’s best marketing strategies to date. What Nike have done is produced an eight episode YouTube series called Margot vs Lily, that follows two sisters (Margot and Lily, self-explanatory) who become involved in a competition with each other, with fitness (and Nike products and services) at the centre of it.

This is a pretty good rundown of the show from Adweek. (Trailer above.):

“Lily, who lives in Manhattan, is a budding YouTube workout star. Margot, who lives in Brooklyn, is a slacker who has recently lost her social media job at an accounting software company. But in some ways, each wants to be like the other. Lily, despite her growing audience of fans, has no real friends, and envies Margot’s social life (if not what seems to be a mild drinking problem). Margot has plenty of friends but doesn’t exercise and (grudgingly) envies Lily’s discipline and healthy living.

So, they hatch a plan: Margot starts her own (unconventional) online workout show, and they begin to keep score: Can Lily add friends or can Margot add followers the quickest? “

Usually I would be pretty eye-roll over something like this but Nike have done a really good job for something that is branded content. They enlisted the help of Jesse Andrews and Alfonso Gomez-Rejon – Andrews wrote the novel Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, and Gomez-Rejon directed the film version) and if you’ve seen that film, you’ll see the influence in this series. It’s cute, fun and engaging, and the best part is that in the four episodes I have seen so far (only four are out – it’s released weekly and we’re only at week four), I don’t think the word ‘Nike’ has been uttered once. Nice.

The whole thing is integrated with the rest of the Better For It campaign – all activations of which you can see here.

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Me and Maddy Budd post-fitness.

Anyway, I wanted to share all of that because right now I’m in the middle of a four week training period leading up to ‘NTC Live’ which is a scaled back version of the NTC Tour. (It’s basically a fitness festival – you do a few workouts over half a day, and in between you can get snacks and have your hair braided and your nails painted and shit.)

My friends and I have formed a little squad for the event and we’ve been doing training together. It’s real cute. (Our squad doesn’t have a name yet – suggestions welcome.) If you kind of like fitness or want to get into it, I suggest you sign up for NTC Live and train with us at the NTC sessions! It’s not scary and you get to take smug group fitness photos. If you don’t like it fitness but you still want to see updates on how I’m going (or not going – see example below), you can follow me on snapchat (username: thedownlowe) or Instagram or Facebook or Twitter. I’ve been lent a GoPro to track my journey and I think the results are going to be pretty crack up, especially considering I’m not super skilled with a GoPro.

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A dope burger I ate after going for a run.

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Me right before I failed to do a handstand against a tree.

NTC Basketball Court

Group shot after the Saturday NTC session on a basketball court. (If you look closely it’s like that chick in the front has her thumb up Maddy’s vagina. Just sayin.)  

Finally, if you don’t like fitness and you don’t want to see how I’m going, a.) I’m not sure why you’ve read this far, and b.) you’re in luck as I probably won’t post about this on this blog for the rest of the training period, I promise!

That’s about it.

Happy Saturday guys.