Nike Japan Encourages Fellow Citizens

'New Beginnings' Spots Offer Inspiration in Wake of Disasters

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Advertising Age Player

When Nike Japan wanted to offer inspiration in the months following the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster that struck the country earlier this year, it looked to Wieden+Kennedy Tokyo and Believe Media, Los Angeles, to craft a message of perseverance through "New Beginnings," using 15- and 30-second messages for TV, cinema and soccer stadiums.

"We wanted to communicate that there are people who are passionate about sports regardless of their level of skills, whether they are professional athletes or not," says Mits Minowa, advertising/digital manager, Nike Japan. "We thought it is important for Nike to send out the 'Just Do It' message while Japan has less energy and optimism due to the March 11 earthquake."

The spots, shot by Believe Media director Gerard de Thame, feature a range of athletes -- a runner at the starting line, swimmers on the blocks, a very young skate boarder at the top of a large ramp, a pitcher -- and a solemn Japanese voiceover. The translation: "Every day is a new beginning. Every day is a chance to do something new. To show what I've learned. To show my best. Every day is a chance to be perfect. To let my game speak for itself. To start again. Every day is the best chance I have." The tagline is , of course, "Just do it."

One scene shot in a martial arts studio features a small girl facing a young boy twice her size. They bow. The situation appears perilous for her. Later, she's shown firmly tossing the bigger boy to the mat.

The spots also feature Nike -signed players, soccer's Yuto Nagatomo, wheelchair athlete Wakako Tsuchida and baseball pitcher Yu Darvish, who ends the spot by delivering a strike-out before a cheering crowd.

Says Minowa, "We hope the athletes will give a positive message about sports by thinking 'Every day is a best chance,' even though the situation is still tough."

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