Through New Year’s on Creativity, we’ll be counting down the best work and ideas of the year in various categories: TV/Film/Branded Content, Print/Out of Home/Design/Experiential and Digital/Integrated/Social.
At No. 1, Nike took a real, actual stand when it stood by controversial football player Colin Kaepernick in a powerful tweet and this subsequent two-minute film featuring the message, “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.” The move dropped Nike into the center of a cultural storm, but ultimately changed the marketing conversation and helped to propel sales, earning the brand Ad Age’s Marketer of the Year title. The overall “Dream Crazy” effort, which highlights how athletes have made their unbelievable aspirations a reality through hard work, perseverance and defiance, is part of the brand’s 30th anniversary celebration of the “Just Do It” tagline. After three decades, it never felt fresher.
Nike is not backing off its polarizing Colin Kaepernick campaign. The company is amping it up with a new call-to-action spot that will air during the NFL opener Thursday night on NBC. The sportswear giant today released a two-minute-long video "Dream Crazy" narrated by Kaepernick as part of its controversial effort. In addition to running during this week's Thursday Night Football telecast, it will appear during coverage of the U.S. Open, Major League Baseball games and college football games, according to a Nike spokesman.
The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback encourages consumers to dream as he showcases recognizable athletes such as LeBron James and Serena Williams alongside others including Megan Blunk, a wheelchair basketball player, and Isaiah Bird, a wrestler who does not have legs. "What non-believers fail to understand is that calling a dream crazy is not an insult—it's a compliment," Kaepernick says in the spot. He closes with the mantra that first appeared in his marketing for Nike on Monday: "Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything."
The new ad, created by Wieden & Kennedy, is part of the latest refresh of Nike's 30-year-old "Just Do It" campaign, centered on the line, "It's only crazy till you do it." Kaepernick's inclusion in the push has received backlash from some consumers, who equate it with the sportswear giant's support of NFL players kneeling during the national anthem. Some experts have said the decision could help bolster Nike with younger consumers such as millennials and Gen Z who are eager to buy a brand that stands for something.
Kaepernick tweeted the new ad today to his nearly 2 million followers.