Color your kicks with your cameraphone

Nike's new mobile campaign (Nike)If new media is anything, it is personal.

Nike knows this better than just about anyone, and is giving us yet another way to express ourselves—this time with a cameraphone. Mobile users in Europe can now create their own sneakers based on a picture they take and MMS (multimedia message service) back to Nike. Shoot whatever you want—graffiti, clothing, your significant other—and you’ll get a picture of their classic 1985 Dunk high-top basketball shoe with the two main colors from your shot.

I’m not sure this ups the cool factor from their shoe-customizing campaign a couple years back, but it’s definitely worth checking out:

Watch the spot Nike produced to seed the campaign to users.
It’s relevant, highly targeted, and a great use of the mobile platform. Visual recognition technology is getting more and more powerful, and the level of cameraphone-penetration (figure about 2 out of every 3 users now) is allowing these kinds of campaigns to get some mass reach. But for my money, they still haven’t topped their earlier efforts.

In 2005 when Nike launched their NikeID sneaker, they let users change things up on the Reuters board in Times Square via their mobile phone. After dialing into an 800 number, they gave winning entrants 60 seconds to create a design from a modified palette of five base colors, which you navigated by pressing 2 (upper), 4 (swoosh and swoosh border), 6 (collar and midsole) and 8 (laces).

Once participants finished the design, an SMS message was sent to their phone that included a link to a WAP site, where users could directly download a mobile wallpaper of their newly created shoe. (AdAge has a fantastic video overview of the campaign; if you’ve got a couple minutes, check it out here).

The new Nike PhotoiD service also lets you save your design as a mobile wallpaper or send to a friend, and you can buy your personalized pair of shoes as well. But it feels like a stretch to hear EMEA marketing director Paolo Tubito describe it: “Where past use of MMS in mobile marketing campaigns has typically focused on short-term, one-way interactions between brand and consumers, Nike PhotoiD opens a genuine creative dialogue between the brand and its audience.”

I appreciate his enthusiasm, to be sure. But there’s actually more powerful stuff out there. For instance, SnapNow has visual technology sophisticated enough to recognize a mobile photo taken from a piece of moving video. Still, who doesn’t want a pair of color-right throwback sneaks? If you’re on that side of the Atlantic, give it a shot (so to speak), and let us know what you think.