Evolution: Gawker Media does Nike SIP

In the magazine world, special interest publications are called SIPs. They’re often one-shots does for a specific audience and/or a specific advertiser. SIPs entered the blog world this week when the canny Nick Denton launched The Art of Speed, a blog for Nike.
I’d like to think that, in its own way, this blog will be as striking and successful as BMW’s digital video shorts,and be equally successful in helping Nike refresh its brand.
Why do I want that?
Because with this deal Gawker Media’s taken the next step in the evolution of blogs as a (commercial)publishing platform–and as a successor to paper. (Note there is no print partner to this Nike blog, and that no ‘mainstream’ publishers have demonstrated yet that the understand the blog form–though this announcement will no doubt send some ad agencies and publishers into a blog feeding frenzy.)
As for people who have trouble with commercializing the medium, I’m not one of them. Without money, projects die.
Nick summarizes the business case pretty clearly:
“Some people will question the use of the weblog format in marketing. There is no straightforward answer. Contract publishing, online or offline, can be done well, or badly. It depends on the subject matter, and the tone. Dr Pepper/Seven Up seemed cynical in its exploitation of the weblog format when it launched ragingcow.com, a site devoted to a new milk drink. However, a smart approach to an appropriate topic can work. Witness, Macromedia’s product weblogs, or Jason Kottke’s weblog campaign around the release of Adaptation, the movie….In principle, campaign weblogs allow a marketer to participate in the weblog conversation, rather than observe it as a passive sponsor.”
Oh, and need I mention that doing a microsite for an advertiser this way is potentially much cheaper that a flash-heavy version?
The interesting issue that will emerge here is flooding. As numerous groups, eager to make a buck, start selling and launching advertiser blogs, the noise level will go up, the quality will go down(and up), and readers will get overwhelmed.
Gee, sounds like every type of advertising.
Guess the blog world is indeed maturing.

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  1. J. Brown says:

    I think it’s a short-term fad. It’s kind of arrogant for a CEO, movie director,etc. to assume that people will want to take time from their lives to read about some famous person’s minutiae.

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