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The campaign Nike dropped for its 30th anniversary of “Just Do It” is one of the greatest I’ve seen, especially the provocative ad with Colin Kaepernick. Nike’s ads have always had the constant thread of “greatness is greatness; don’t try to stamp it out,” but their recent edition is a powerful reinforcement of that message (hello, Serena and her catsuit), and what they stand for.

That said, this particular campaign with Kaepernick is truly an important one. First, it whole-heartedly confirms they are Nike – they have values and purpose and they don’t waver. Second, it says, there is an important social issue happening and, despite what we might lose, we must stand up, recognize it and discuss it. We shouldn’t be hiding from it.

Consumers today continue to want a more personal experience and connection with the brands they engage with. As marketers, we must always remember:

  • In today’s world, brands need to stand for something bigger than what they’re selling. Purpose is not a need to have; it’s a must have.

  • We need to help our clients tell their brand’s story in a meaningful and authentic way that connects with their consumers. Have them yell from the rooftops they’re more than their products.

“Believe in Something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”

It means different things to different people, but the message is the same. Do something meaningful, stand up for what you believe in – even if you have to sacrifice.

As a POC, as an advocate of equal justice, as a human, this campaign really spoke to me. It was a risk for Nike, but a good one. While it absolutely stirred controversy (that smell in the air is shoes burning), it endeared not just athletes, but global citizens to its brand. First, the ad released by Kaepernick, then the tear-jerking, inspiring, make-you-want-to-stand-up-and-kick-some-ass-and-take-names “Dream Crazy” video... Wow. I used to think Nike was elitist and not for someone like me. This campaign has made me rethink that… and I’m likely to only ever buy Nike from now on.

P.S. Nike’s sales are up following the release of the ad.

P.P.S. The ad created more than $43 million worth of media exposure.

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Written by Mel Hennigar | Iain Deans

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