I have returned, bubbling with ecstatic excitement from three day’s, with Nike in a secret location. It was wonderful to be involved, and see this event unfold day by day. Today’s blog, will give you a small snap shot of the ‘behind the scenes’ of the many moments the ladies saw and where involved in.
Huge congratulations to Nike UK, with conjunction with Limelight sports for putting together such a wonderful event, and others, including C’est Chic, being drafted in to assist. All involved are brought together for their contrasting expertise areas.
What was this about?
There are many ‘ladies only’ running events, mostly for clubs across the world, and these are growing in number!. These are not just charity fundraising events, but a way to promote running and the social team culture, of being involved. Sports clubs and manufacturers have realised the ‘benefits of being involved’.
UK Nike product branding, conduct a ‘double positive whammy’ of building knowledge of their new Nike clothing and shoe ranges to loyal customers. This is whilst also advertising the ‘social fun’ of being involved in Nike events, and their clubs. This event, was a cleaver way, and highly successful method, by putting together top female trainers, athletes, PR social media blogs, and adding secret running ‘logged miles’ training teams from the UK all in one secret location. Nike Just do it.
Event planning for day 1?
The ladies, where sent an email, with instructions to meet in the lobby of the Ace Hotel in East London. This had a message: bring your passport, toiletries and be prepared to have an ‘out of this world experience for 2 days!’ For us, behind the scenes, starting a 7am, the hotel staff where amazing, so accommodating. The Itinerary included, 10 support staff, setting up a ‘Nike personal bra fitting service’ set out as a french boutique. Another team, accompanied the hospitality and catering, to design a healthy three course meal for the ladies arrival, with welcome speeches and a small soft drink congratulations!.
The final team, was hired for the exclusive door to door ‘product drops’ of a full day’s kit for them to wear the next day. This was laid out, with every personal touch conducted from the previous week. Every item, was particular to the lady in size, colour matched, and personally labeled for safe keeping. The items included, exclusive trainers, tank top, long and short sleeve top, trousers, shorts even jackets and socks!
We used 32 bedrooms, including one as stock room, dining room, a board room, reception area and the balcony. The idea, was to keep the relaxed feel of the hotel in the planning of the event. No lady was rushed, everything conducted as a ‘one to one service’. Even with the hotel conducting a room call and wake up at 4.30am. each room was very spacious and unique!
The ladies reaction, in the morning, and even from the moment they collected their new bra, was ecstatic. They tried every trick in the book to ask everyone and anyone, on where they where going and doing! even the hotel staff, just in case someone slipped! By the time they woke up the next day, the atmosphere was amazing. Did we say anything, nope!
A long day, planning, checking, un-packing, double even triple checking each box, by the time all the ladies where in bed. We had been working 20 hours, and still smiling! Big long early start the next day. Alarm clock set for 3.am!
We are off!, but where??
Travel bags, flight pillows, blankets, breakfast boxes and magazines are prepared at 4.am, being dragged into the lobby. Then it was the wait for the girls to come down the stairs. Coach arrived at just before 5.am, right on time, a quick team brief and then start to load everyone on board. The ladies still did not know anything. Once on the coach, that was when they where told, but only the location. The scream of excitment, and the serge of mobile internet checks about the Island happened all at once. Crew wise, there was four on Sark Island since Sunday, and three (including myself) traveling with the girls from London. We where happy to know, we were on our way, and step on ‘get them to the airport was on track!’
Keeping the pack together through Gatwick airport, was a huge funny sight! With everyone in neon coloured outfits, and designer trainers. Many members of the public asking what was going on, and where could they get a pair!. The Selfies had started and hashtags for instagram where in full force! Baggage control was fun due to the many team photo’s, and the glamour shots! Off to the private lounge for complementary drinks, and the 5 minute wait for the flight. Even enough time for more soft drinks, cake and a photo with the flight crew!
Big cheers went up on landing, then ‘swooshed off’ onto the coach and on to the boat. Sark Island is very unique, There is no street lamps, no cars, no roads and only has 500 people on the Island. The only means of transport is through horse & cart, tractor ( Monday to Saturday only) push bikes and walking! Logistics to get everything to the Island, was by pre-booking tractors, more colour labeling!, and shipping the week before on large items only. This was combined with talking to all the land owners, ready for a ‘Nike invasion’ The Island was very quaint with its own little shop. After the risk’s have been outlined on the boat the girls realised they where nearly there and the event starts…. ‘Run to the hotel!’. I’m unsure how many looks we all got, running in Nike across their Island, but lots of friends in tractors were made, and ‘good afternoon’s.
Straight away from loading bags into the tractor, we are walked to different marshal points, to assist the runners. I found myself on a dust track, surrounded by sea and peace and quiet, no house for miles. This is such a different lifestyle to the hussle & bustle of London. We finally arrived to the hotel, the guests where greeted by white chalk boards, with an breakdown of the day’s activities, a large smile, scrumptious lunch waiting, alongside that important room key.
Afternoon of day one, consisted of a ‘art attach’ session designing trainers – which they keep. The marquee was constructed on the Monday, complete with flooring, DJ booth, fairy lights and a soft bar. International athletes arrived for running and training technique sessions. This was all before dinner.
Behind the scenes, the next day’s yoga outfits where being prepared for the rooms, food menu’s, tomorrows outfits checked, push bikes labeled set out for tomorrow. Not alone, art work gathered, route signs put up, lighting the walk ways with candle lanterns, checking each personalised water bottle, setting out back packs for team leaders, wifi and media assess and those many accommodation checks. They was a continuous laughter and chat of ‘what’s next’ ‘how are they getting on’ ‘are they enjoying their time?’
Long day from 3.am-11.pm, but completely worth it! Everyone’s faces said it all, pure enjoyment and excitement.
Home, no already??
Day 2, went very quickly indeed. I was up at 5.am, and in true ‘team work style’ we where refereed to as the ‘night fairies’ who delivered yoga outfits outside their doors. By the time the ladies came out their room, there was ‘squil’s of delight’. They could not believe there was even more free outfits, trainers, shorts, tops etc to wear for today! They said it was over-whelming. So out came the phone camera, and off for more photo shots, selfie shots, twitter comments, and Facebook likes.
Us crew, where packed off for the site adventure course, but we had to cycle there first!. The view was spectacular, there were day trippers to Sark Island asking many questions on what was going on. They completed ‘a cart pulling challenge (with crew in the cart for added weight!) a cave dive (health and safety checked by us, the day before!!) and the step challenge ( 500 steps to run to the beach). Contact on walki talkies was fun, as the reception in a cave, or at the bottom of a valley cuts out. It was a moment of wanting to know if ‘smoke signals actually work’.
While this was happening, there was another staff team, back at base, packing the site for the return home, and placing the final drop of items ( carry bag, Nike manifesto of training, congratulations frames) to each door. Many of the ladies, had said they wondered how they where getting home with all this extra clothes, trainers (3 pairs) and other wonderful gifts.
Day was pulling to a close, with beaming smiles, the girls arrived back to a luxury lunch, complete with a Nike Cake!. Then the start of the travel back. No one wanted to leave, including us.
Arrived back to Gatwick at 6pm, still working, until every lady is on the coach or making their own way home. They all said, no one is going to understand just how special the last few days where, how much fun, and exciting. Are we true loyal Nike fans..Yes!.
Did the branding exercise work? yes. Was it a successful smooth running event? yes. What did the guest notice?.. the personal touches, done every detail covered with outstanding service. No complaints, no concerns or issues.
I was exceptionally pleased to be asked to involved, what an experience!! roll on the next event.