Nike: Nothing Beats a Londoner... Does it Just?

Published in Adverts on Feb 12, 2018 by Tim Marner™

Nothing Beats a Londoner... Does it Just?

Wieden + Kennedys latest advertising campaign for Nike celebrates the cultural diversity and the struggles of every day Londoners. Taking the audience on a dash around London stopping in culturally rich areas like Dalston, Peckham and Brixton which provides the vivid backdrop for the advert. In total there are 258 real-life young Londoners who appear in the 3 minute film, giving us a quick taste of the unique London spirit they all portray.

It’s a great advert. No, actually it’s a fantastic advert. The shots are varied and unusual, the music utilises London artists like Dizzee Rascal and celebrates the amazing culture in London. W+K have done a great job of hitting the challenge “Creating a London-centric campaign for Nike.” But that’s where we think the problems really start. 

At this point in time the UK as a whole is going through a really tough period, perhaps one of the toughest in its history. We face the threats of terrorism, the country is split in two, not just between North and South but between Leave and Remain, we’ve got crime rates soaring, the NHS is dying a slow and painful death and as a nation we’re fractured. Nike should be portraying messages of standing together united, not this me against you malarkey.

When we watch this advert however cool it is, if you're not from London you can't connect with it and it's hard to see what angle Nike are going for. Especially with a strapline like “You can’t beat a Londoner” it’s so London-centric you might as well be sticking 2 fingers up to the rest of the country. If it's about culture, go to Birmingham and you’ll find a flourishing grime scene on par with London. Head further up North and you’ll stumble across Man Utd, Man City and Liverpool, flying high in the premier League, did we mention a little place called Wales the home to rugby star George North who has won 70 caps for Wales and 3 for the British and Irish Lions...

We can go on all day giving examples but what we can’t do is understand Nike’s logic in all of this. It’s hard to imagine this advert resonating with anybody except Londoners, and by doing so have alienated the rest of the country. It’s not about making an advert for London, Belfast, Glasgow, Newcastle, Cardiff or Manchester, it’s about being a United Kingdom. When there is already so much anti-London feeling up and down the country it feels like the only thing this advert is successfully doing is driving a wedge into an already widened gap. Just don't do it.

Advertising Agency: Wieden + Kennedy
Creative Director: Mark Shanley & Paddy Treacy
Creatives: Tom Bender & Tom Corcoran
Agency Producer: Michelle Brough
Production Company: Riff Raff
Director: Megaforce
Producer: Nick Goldsmith
Editor: Joe Guest @ Final Cut
Sound Designer: Sam Ashwell

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