Nike ‘Voices’

This ad pays credence to a new adage: ‘We may have seen it before, but it worked then and it works now’. This is what you want from a sports ad and is exactly the sort of work that sells sports.

We were not savvy to the Nike ‘If You Let Me Play’ work from 1995 which this campaign borrows from, but Google sorted that problem. The work was a push to celebrate women in sport. It is powerful, namely due to it being interspersed with strong and unforgettable facts like, “If you let me play sports, I’ll be more likely to leave a man who beats me,”…and…”50% less likely to get breast cancer”. See, it cuts to the emotional core.

Well it’s been 17 years since that stirring campaign put the spotlight on young female athletes. And now, Nike and W+K are back with a slightly different approach, again to celebrate women in sport; but this time celebrating the passion and strength of female athletes.

The spot reflects the personal stories of four distinct athletes who have had to break the rules to be the absolute best at what they do in the face of gender discrimination. They wanted to play so badly, they wrote their own rules.

It’s one of those ads which has a genius touch to it – the ad moves fast with changing close up shots and strong narrative to resonate with an audience, as each athlete directly addresses you and talks through the challenges and difficulties they faced. These voices are embraced by young girls who share these same difficulties today and share the same sentiment to overcome them. It describes how they are inspired by an unwillingness to compromise and a “play by your own rules” attitude.

It’s almost two decades since the debut spot, but there’s still something about hearing little girls recite facts which works.

There is another pertinent reason for this push though, which is to coincide with the 40th anniversary of Title IX – a US legislation to establish gender equality in all educational programs, including athletics. Since going into effect, Title IX has ensured that girls get as many opportunities to play sports as their male counterparts… something Nike and W+K jointly champion with their work to change the game for women in sports.

The best branding is always through storytelling and W+K know how to do this spot on, time and time again. We have previously reviewed a NIKE-W+K ad (, and studying the work they have done over the year’s highlights a truly fantastic agency partnership that consistently turns out innovative work. We could list campaign after campaign, but WordPress may have something to say about the amount of bandwidth we would steal.

We are certain this ad will serve as a strong rallying point for both female and male athletes, especially with the Summer Olympics just over a month away. The one liner it ends on captures it all, ‘There’s something telling me to do it every single day… I just want to play!’ Nowadays, that’s the only reason you need.

When you produce ads like this, it’s no wonder everyone wants to wear your stuff. Nike operate 900 facilities Worldwide to satisfy the demand they have. They may need a few more after this.




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This entry was posted on June 26, 2012 by in Branding, TV Advert and tagged , , , , , , , , .


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