Inside Nike’s Most Successful Failure

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Many brand marketers love to say they value bold ideas and taking risks, but few would likely have the stomach for a project like Breaking2.Both ambitious in goal and massive in logistical scope, Breaking2 was Nike’s attempt to run a marathon in less than 2 hours—which would require beating the current record not by seconds, but by three whole minutes.

Attempted on May 6, 2017, the mission succeeded in shaving considerable time off the existing record, but it did not break the 2-hour barrier. Kenyan runner Eliud Kipchoge finished just 25 seconds above 2 hours. You can watch an hour-long branded documentary about the project on National Geographic’s site.

Considering the investment of time, resources and no small amount of dollars to make the attempt—only to have it fall short of its goal—was Breaking2 a failure?

At the Cannes Lions, where the project won a gold Lion in Entertainment and a bronze, Adweek caught up with three members of the core team that created Breaking2. You can stream the podcast version of our conversation below and check it out on Apple Podcasts, or simply browse the transcript that follows:
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