Nike Unveils Their New Nike+Fuelband

Nike introduced a new wristband gadget to measure not only running but any kind of body movement.

NIKE+ FuelBand, the Oregon-based company says its website, captures and displays time, calories, steps and — the key selling point of the $149 gizmo — NikeFuel.

NikeFuel is “a new metric that will be the ultimate measure of your athletic activity. NikeFuel is a proprietary technology that measures your activity through the movement of your wrist …the more you move, the more NikeFuel you earn, whether you’re playing basketball, throwing a Frisbee or going for a run.”

A product description also says:

Nike worked with some of the world’s top experts in science and sports to engineer NikeFuel algorithms based on oxygen kinetics. Unlike calorie counts — which vary based on someone’s gender and body type — NikeFuel is a normalized score that awards all participants equal scoring for the same activity regardless of their physical makeup. A user can also choose to also receive a calorie count to understand how many calories are burned versus how much NikeFuel is earned.

The introduction of the wristband was accompanied by a marketing buildup that was digital, grand, and sweeping, even by Nike standards.

For weeks, YouTube videos featuring Nike athletes have been posted with the phrase, “Make It Count,” with reference to today’s launch date. Nike created a new Twitter handle, @nike, to coincide with the launch. A team of Nike employees fluent in Twitterese have been sending haiku-like dispatches urging the greater public to get out there, exercise and #makeitcount.

The product was introduced at an event this morning in New York City that is being covered by The Oregonian’s Washington, D.C. correspondent, Charles Pope. The newspaper has been promised a meeting of two Charlies: Pope is expected to interview Charlie Denson, president of the Nike Brand.

The whole spectacle inspired Sterne Agee analyst Sam Poser in New York to issue a “flash note” on Wednesday reiterating his previous buy recommendation and setting a target price of $110. Nike, having hit an all-time stock price high on Wednesday, was trading at about $101.50 this morning.

Poser wrote:

Based on conversations with athletic specialty, sporting goods, and family footwear retailers, we are very confident that new line extensions, new technologies, and some retro offerings will continue to drive the double digit sales momentum through 2012 and into 2013. Not only are the marketing and product initiatives promising, but when combined with the European Championships and the Olympics the recent momentum for both sales and the stock are likely to continue. Beyond 2012, Nike will quickly shift its focus to Brazil where the World Cup and Olympics will be held in 2014 and 2016.

One of those momentum setters includes the National Football League. Nike is believed to have paid $1.1 billion to the NFL for the rights to uniforms and sideline apparel over the next five years. Nike takes over from Reebok following the Super Bowl.

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