Nike UK’s 40% discount code – innocent leak or first class guerilla marketing?

30 Nov
40% off these? Dream on...

40% off these? Dream on...

I spent a fair whack of my Saturday parked @ Nike.co.uk’s online store. Why oh why? Well, just like a fair bunch of like minded folks, I was there to scoop my generous 40% discount across the full online range…or so I thought…

Late last week news started to spread online about a code which enabled this massive discount – details were vague about exactly how the code was obtained, but it was claimed that the code was ‘leaked’ by an employee, and the code itself – UKEMPL1115 – seemed to suggest that it may be some sort of staff discount code. By Friday afternoon the deal had very much gone viral – see Google or forum threads @ HotUKDeals & MoneySavingExperts.

By Saturday night the code seems to have stopped working altogether, and people who had successfully placed orders before began to receive emails informing them that their order had been canceled.

Had we just all been punk’d? No doubt in my mind!

Thinking rationally the whole Employee code leak just sounds full of holes. The voucher code just seems so flakey – would Nike really offer a discount code online for employees? I sincerely doubt it – surely its just asking for something like this to happen. Also, IF they did would it be so obvious as that – it’s not very cryptic is it? And 40%?!?! Have Nike employees really got it that good? A bit of searching online proved inconclusive, with some placing Nike employee discount at 20%, others at 30% but none quite at 40%. I really doubt its as high as this….

What was it mum used to say – If it sounds to good to be true, then it probably is…

To me this just sounds like a crafty guerrilla marketing ploy – the glue being the unbelievable offer, and the purpose being to get us to the Nike site and wet our appetite. You think you are getting something, then it gets taken away from you – you then want it back (even if you never had it in the first place, and in order to get it back is going to cost you considerable more ££). That’s exactly how I feel – thinking rationally, I’d never thought about getting those running shoes (cost v benefit), until I thought that I was getting them for 40% off. @ 40% off I sold myself the benefits of having these shoes, but when this discount was taken away I still harboured the desire to own these shoes.

Anyone else come across a similar guerilla marketing ploy, or have more on this story?? Thoughts / comments welcome…

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9 Responses to “Nike UK’s 40% discount code – innocent leak or first class guerilla marketing?”

  1. Calvin Robinson November 30, 2008 at 1:43 pm #

    Wow,that’s some nasty marketing techniques. What are the legal ramifications of this? Did they charge your credit cards first then refund them? Or did they stole the whole process before you got charged?

    Too flaky man…

    Reminds me of when Argus advertised TVs on their website for a pound, and when they realised the mistake, they cancelled all the orders of course – but some people actually managed to argue their way through the legal system to receive their TVs for £1.

  2. Bobby Woo November 30, 2008 at 4:41 pm #

    I had the e-mail sent by a colleague on Friday and spent a while looking at Nikestore.

    I received the 40% discount and placed the orders but received an e-mail stating that it was for employees only, approximately 5 hours later.

    Other friends haven’t received the e-mail yet so may get lucky but this does seem to be too good to be true. Perhaps Nike selected a certain number they would allow in order to make this look legitimate?!

    Either way, it’s a brilliant piece of marketing, if not a little deceptive, especially given the current economic climate.

    I’d chance my arm again though – does anyone have a code or employee discount for Adidas?????

  3. David Matthews December 1, 2008 at 1:28 pm #

    They charged the cards but refunded the money. I don’t think there can be any legal ramifications unfortunately, because the code has been published as an Employee discount. That is the true genius behind it. If you were to complain, Nike would just say you weren’t entitled to the discount because you aren’t an employee.

    If this is a strategy, then it really is good. They wouldn’t have to enforce the promo, you would’ve already wetted your appetite with the website and you’re probably going to get it anyway. I did!

    Is there anyone else who’ve been stung?

  4. marvin100 December 2, 2008 at 1:46 pm #

    the only problem with your article is the 40% was actually taken off if you ordered early enough – i ordered on the 26th and everything went through fine – invoice shows discount etc etc good received.

    i dont think it was viral i just think it got abused and was closed down

  5. James December 8, 2008 at 6:50 pm #

    I work at a nike factory store and the code was a genuine discount code for employees but i didn’t get a chance to use it because it has been cancelled due to the leak/people taking advantage.

    • ubermartin December 8, 2008 at 8:51 pm #

      Thanks James, for the insight… we’ll try and delve a little deeper into this one. But it still to our eyes look like a brilliant marketing campaign, question is how intended was it? At least this raises a new topic to be spoken about, how easy is viral and is it as good as old fashion word of mouth? or is it as some people claim the exact same?

  6. niloo February 10, 2009 at 10:16 am #

    hi,i love nike sneakers but i live in iran now and i cant search this beauty sneakers

  7. frederick gray July 23, 2009 at 7:32 pm #

    I what some nike

  8. Maher September 10, 2009 at 11:27 pm #

    Maher : I work at a nike factory store and the code was a genuine discount code for employees but i didn’t get a chance to use it because it has been cancelled due to the leak/people taking advantage.
    Im in Lebanon .

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