Nike founder Phil Knight introduced himself to Wieden & Kennedy co-founder Dan Wieden with the words, "I don't believe in advertising," Wieden recalled for Rance Crain in 2016:
At first, Dan and his agency partner, David Kennedy, thought they had better keep looking for clients for their new agency when they opened Wieden & Kennedy in Portland, Ore., in 1982. But they soon realized that Knight, the founder of Nike, was really saying, "I don't want anything that tastes or looks like advertising," Dan told me in a video interview before he was inducted into the Advertising Hall of Fame. "Phil said, 'I want to make an honest, powerful relationship with good people.' That's what we've tried to do."
This Super Bowl debut for Nike fits the bill, even as it plays on the traditional words-from-our-sponsor and evokes a certain Bud Light mascot ("Party Animal"). By cutting between cherished announcers and athletes as if they're all calling and playing the same game, and making the sponsor nods punchy and funny, Nike places itself among, and of, sports fans.
Despite Nike's outlay on a minute of Super Bowl ad time -- the average price of 30 seconds that year was $700,000 -- the marketer agreed to CBS's request to avoid featuring featuring announcers associated with rival networks.
As it aired, the announcers were Tommy Heinsohn, Ben Wright, Pat Summerall, Dick Butkus, Curt Gowdy, Dick Stockton and Tony Trabert, all CBS talent, plus Don Cherry, the CBC hockey announcer and Harry Caray, the beloved Cubs announcer. Al Michaels of ABC and Dick Enberg and Marv Albert of NBC were removed. The athletes are Nike endorsers Bo Jackson, Michael Jordan, John McEnroe, Curtis Strange and Wayne Gretsky.
The ad won the second annual USA Today Super Bowl Ad Meter rating entertainment value. Director Joe Pytka, the prolific Super Bowl presence whose other work includes Nike's "Stanley's Speech" and Budweiser's "Clydesdale Team," would nonetheless tell Ad Age in a 2012 video interview that the Ad Meter popularity contest "in a funny way ... has caused more bad advertising than anything else in the history of advertising."
Copywriter: Jim Riswold. Art director: Michael Prieve. Agency Producer: Bill Davenport.
AGENCY: Wieden & Kennedy