What we can learn from the latest Nike ‘Just Do It’ Campaign

Nike yesterday launched their latest ‘Just Do It’ Campaign, staring Colin Kaepernick. If you don’t know who Kaepernick is (and I’ll forgive you if you don’t). He’s the American NFL player who refused to stand during the National Anthem and eventually sank to his knee to protest police killings of African Americans and many other injustices over in that country.

Now Nike has courted controversial figures before Lance Armstrong after the doping scandal, Maria Sharapova following her failed drugs test and so on.

But this new campaign has set the world alight. Donald Trump is up in arms on Twitter, Americans loyal to Trump are burning their Nike and their share prices have, for now, gone down.

Basically, everyone is talking about Nike.

And what do we know about publicity? There is no such thing as a bad publicity.

So why has the Nike advert caused such uproar?

It’s tapped into a conversation that is dividing sides and already has many miles of social media and editorial debate.

Black lives matter, Trump, what it means to be American. And also the advert focuses on being a refugee and just doing it, which ricochets right across to us over here in Europe with Brexit and massive displacements of people. It focuses on disabled players, children, women in hijabs, black women from Compton.

Kaepernick is telling us ‘Believe in something. Even is it means sacrificing everything’ (he currently can’t land an NFL deal) and ‘don’t ask if your dreams are crazy, ask if they’re crazy enough’.

Watch the full advert here: https://youtu.be/Fq2CvmgoO7I

So, what can you learn this these multi-million dollar behemoth?

Well it goes back to 2 things that I do tend to bang on about a little bit when supporting and teaching people who to promote themselves on social media.

1.      Don’t be afraid if people don’t like you.

Nike are not out for everyone to like them. They’re not a pastel organisation that trys to be all things to all people. They aren’t thinking their ideal customer is anyone with a credit card (even though it could be).

They know that it won’t hurt their business if a few Trump supporters burn their Nike. In fact, it’s going to help their brand. They’re after the youth, the people who believe in a better world, a better America, freedom to choose, to have opportunity, to just do it.

So it doesn’t matter if they are a little Marmite, some people will hate them, but those who love them, will really love them. And that’s what matters.

Don’t be afraid of being yourself. 100% yourself. If some people don’t like you. Fine. Those people who love you, will really love you.

2.      Don’t be afraid to be controversial

You may feel that when you’re in business you need to leave your politics at the door. That if you have strong opinions you will put some people off.

That may be, but it goes back to point number 1.

Now I’m not saying all your social media posts should be banging on about politics, but if a daily news story has got your goat, don’t be afraid to let out a tweet about it. You’ll likely start a conversation and if you want to get into the press, those guys are looking for people with opinions – they make better articles.

3.      Be topical

Facebook loves topical posts. So Nike are bang on with creating a campaign about ideas and concepts that are currently changing the face of the earth.

Facebook will reward you for topical posts. It wants to give more reach to topics that everyone is talking about.


4.      Generate conversation

Facebook (and all other social media channels) love a good conversation under your posts. The more chat about your topic, the more your post will be seen by more people. So how can you start a conversation today?

How can you inspire people to reach out and connect with you?

After all social media is all about building connections, relationships and gives you the opportunity to actually reach out and speak to your audience.

Now I want to add an aside here. Your not running a muti-million dollar worldwide behemoth company. And there is one extra piece of the pie here. Nike has been lambasted for it’s production process.

And I’m going to quote one of my old time favourite comedy duos here. Flight of the Conchords: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLEK0UZH4cs

What We Can Learn From The Latest Nike 'Just Do It' Campaign.jpg

They're turning kids into slaves
Just to make cheaper sneakers
But what's the real cost?
'Cause the sneakers don't seem that much cheaper

Why are we still paying so much for sneakers ?
When you got them made by little slaves kids
What are your overheads?

Nike have cleaned up their act lately, but still have a rating of 2 out of 5 for ethics on Good for you: https://goodonyou.eco/how-ethical-is-nike/

So it can be argued that the women, children and refugees they feature in their ad campaign may also be trapped in low wages making their goods.

But this campaign focuses people away from news stories like these, and puts Nike in a position of campaigning for all people. And that’s some amazing smoke and mirrors marketing right there.

Are you looking for more advice on how to improve your digital marketing? Check out these digital marketing wizardy tips!