A few months ago I met with the Nike team attempting to obliterate childhood obesity by decking your kids out in the latest Nike products.  Michelle Obama is involved, more in an ancillary role, but involved nonetheless.

Anyway, I got an earful on how the diet approach to obesity is misdirected and its really all about getting out and just doing it.  I suspect they meant running, swimming and  playing all manner of sports that is.  It’s a $50 million campaign, not exactly a small project.

Nike used some of our early numbers on the increasing media attention on physical activity with children and the declining diet/obesity storylines.  Good news for Nike!  But they failed to leverage the ongoing media monitoring analytics that would foretell the current decline in physical activity ratings.  As it turns out, the topic was peaking (at 82 points).   Since that meeting the Physical Activity and Children has been on a gradual decline, down -17 percent year-over-year at 68.

Media momentum is showing some signs of life after a disastrous 9-month stretch of slipping coverage.  But the sudden drop in coverage is inescapable.  Nike should have caught this one early and managed the media channel accordingly.

But overall, the Nike situation  provides a good example of where ongoing metrics surrounding a key topic can help determine whether it has the trending properties needed to sustain and propel a marketing effort. Allocating marketing budget behind a revenue driver (physical activity in children) without measuring the driver seems kind of ridiculous, but many companies do just that.

One of the reasons we offer all out rating metrics as an ongoing service is simply to address this type of media about-face.  Tracking the ebb and flow of a topic, determining when and where it is trending (or “un-trending”) is vital to hijacking coverage and weaving brand and product news into strong topic currents.  Nike missed and opportunity to boost coverage and/or pivot to other trending storylines that support its broader brand objectives.