2017 seems to be the year of socially conscious advertising. If you watched the Grammys this weekend you may have noticed that Nike released a powerful new campaign. Directed by Melina Matsoukas, this bold ad from Wieden + Kennedy agency touts a message of equality and fairness for all.
The black-and-white spot features appearances from Serena Williams, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Victor Cruz, Megan Rapinoe, Dalilah Muhammad, and Gabby Douglas. Michael B. Jordan provides the voiceover while Alicia Keys covers Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come.”
Unlike some brands that avoiding making potentially controversial social statements Nike has made it apparent where it stands with a message that is clear and direct: “If we can be equals here, we can be equals everywhere.”
With the increasing number of protests, the start of Black History month, and the backlash against rival Under Armour after their CEO made comments in support of Trump, Nike’s timing of the campaign release is impeccable.
In a behind-the-scenes video from the shoot Serena Williams sums up the tone of the ad with the following:
“My view is that sometimes we as a people, we give everyone equal opportunity on the court, we give them an equal chance. We look at them the same way. Off the court we might overlook people or say ‘Oh, they don’t deserve the same opportunity. Oh, they look different, or they’re not like me.’ When in all actuality, we all are.”
To spread their message Nike has created a filter that people can use to show their support and promote this message of inclusiveness. Nike also changed the majority of the profile pictures and description blurbs in their social media accounts to say promote this message of equality.
To show that they are committed to equality for all Nike recently announced its partnership with MENTOR and PeacePlayers International and plan to donate $5 million this year in support of organizations that promote equality in communities across the US. A line of shirts that say “Equality” and a collection of shoes will be sold as well as part of Nike’s annual Black History month collection.
The ad ends on a simple message: “Equality had no boundaries.” Equality should not just be in sports but everywhere. Nike is encouraging people to take the fairness and respect they see in sports and apply to their daily lives. We cannot wait for the world as a whole to change; change begins with you so just do it.