Date: 2003
Project Type: Public / Hoax

Launch Project Launch Project

Exercise for 010100101101.org's

Nike Ground


A group of European artists, who use the anonymous collective name 010100101101.org launched a viral marketing campaign that tricked the citizens of Vienna into believing that the city planned to build a Nike Swoosh monument in a central public square. The Swoosh would have replaced a historic statue that stood in the public square for several centuries. 010100101101.org used a fake promotional website and phony press releases that were circulated by email to spread the politically charged rumor. The documentary video that represents Nike Ground shows citizens' reactions and images of the phony monument.


This exercise explores the power of viral marketing (see glossary) to promote popular products, ideas, or news stories.


  1. Warm-Up Activity (10 min):

    Educator should lead students in a discussion about recent trends in fashion. Have they noticed new fashion trends? Where do they think these trends come from? How did you hear about them? How do you think the trends spread?

  2. Watch (10 min):

    Students should read the project description and look at images of Nike Ground.

    Suggested questions could include:

    1. Did the citizens of Vienna believe the Nike Ground campaign?
    2. What convinced them?
    3. What were their responses?
    4. Why did certain citizens feel that replacing the historic monument with a Nike Swoosh was an offensive gesture?
    5. How do you think Americans would react if the same proposal was in their town or city?
    6. Is there a way that the Nike Swoosh monument could have been presented differently, so that it could provoke more positive reactions? For instance, if it symbolized a common social value in Vienna, do you think that citizens would have responded differently?
  3. Activity (30 min):

    The educator should explain the concept of viral or contagious marketing to the class, using Nike Ground as an example. The students will break up into small groups and design a marketing campaign for a product (fashion, accessory) or a news story that they think will catch on. At the end of the class, each group presents a 2 minute pitch for their campaign.