When a company launches a product or service that is geared towards a very specific audience, it has the potential to significantly influence those not needing that particular product. These campaigns are relative and reach far beyond their intended target. That can mean millions in new revenue. It’s known as Cause Marketing, and Nike is in the beginning stages of one of those campaigns. How they handle this will be interesting to follow because it really is one of those products that came to fruition without a revenue stream in mind.

You will recall one of the most successful Cause Marketing campaigns a few years back from General Mills and their yogurt brand, Yoplait Save Lids to Save Lives for breast cancer awareness. It was hugely successful with lids being saved in homes, schools, and businesses. General Mills and the Susan G. Komen Foundation benefited greatly from this and deservedly so. What is so unusual about the Nike circumstance, is that there was no non-profit foundation of reach. It was a simple email, a genuine need, and a great desire on Nike’s part to help.

Breast Cancer Nikes

Nike has designed a pair of shoes for people with disabilities and other physical limitations that make it possible for them to put on their shoes independently. This shoe is called the laceless Lebron Zoom Soldier 8 Flyease. The concept of this shoe began with an email from a young man with Cerebral Palsy, Matt Walzer. He merely asked Nike for help. Matt wanted to be able to put on his own shoes as he made the transition to college, striving to become more self-reliant. LeBron James happens to be his idol. Nike didn’t just reply, they hurdled into action. The Nike executive team had been aware of this troubling dilemma because it just so happened that one of their own had suffered a stroke a few years back. The letter from Matt confirmed that something had to be done immediately. Nike designed the shoe, LeBron signed on as the name and face of the product, and Matt Walzer is now a sophomore in college feeling empowered by the tiniest bit of independence; putting on his own shoes. As this story of the Flyease and its video makes the rounds of social media, sales look to move quickly. It isn’t clear yet, but if part of the campaign is to donate a portion of the sales to CP or the Challenged Athletes Foundation then I would say they could expect a healthy spike in sales. The influence of this campaign has so many different fingers that it will touch the world rapidly.

For-profit companies that launch campaigns with worthy causes can be very successful if the project is presented with meticulous thought and proper efforts. I want to be clear that I do not think that Nike’s goal here is to profit from those with physical challenges. I believe that Nike is passionately developing a product that will change lives drastically. The tiny bit of liberation from being able to put on your own shoes is life altering! It is an attitude change, a smile maker! The Flyease product is the beginning of a wave of new products that will enhance the lives of those who struggle with simple tasks that most of us don’t even think about. The division of Nike driving this effort is in a very good spot to make the world more aware of Cerebral Palsy and any other physical challenge they want to include in their media campaign. The Ice Bucket Challenge was not only rewarded with over a hundred million dollars but an equally imperative notice to those suffering from ALS.

I want a pair of the Flyease! I want to show my support in this magnanimous effort. I want to tell everyone I know to go buy some – they’re not even on the market yet! I want to follow Nike as they handle this effort and I want to say thank you. Nike is taking on all the development, design and production costs. There is no line item on their balance sheet to go against the expenses on this. This is a magnanimous effort.

This campaign is benevolence at its richest and the reward, yet to be realized, I believe will be wildly successful.