Ten Nike Ads that Will Inspire You

“Just Do It”

Nike is one of the Beloved Brands of all time.  While I argue that a Beloved Brand requires all 5 connectors–brand promise, strategy, advertising, innovation and tumblr_matv8lz8Iy1rb4h0ao1_1280experience–the one that most jumps out the most for Nike is their advertising.  Consistently, over the last 20-30 years, they’ve used inspiration and challenge to deliver the “Just Do It” brand idea.  Nike does such a good job owning inspiration that when I see someone else copy, I think “wow that’s a good spot, but that’s Nike”.  And when I see Nike try to get funny or cute, I think it’s off strategy for the brand.  

Here are ten that should inspire you to go work out today. 

If you let me Play Sports

This is for all the women who kick ass in sports, including my daughter.

No Excuses

If this doesn’t get you off your ass, then nothing will.   

Michael Jordan “Failure”

For the GOAT (greatest of all time) this shows a glimpse of the human side of Michael.   MJ has done more for the Nike brand than anyone.

Charles Barkley “I am not a role model”

Maybe not quite inspiring but truthful.  This is long before all the disgraced athletes–Lance, Tiger, Kobe–and keeps it real as to athlete vs. celebrity vs. role model.

My Better is Better than Yours

Just a simple challenge to instil the competitive fire in all of us.  I love taking on the consumers’ enemy, and the enemy that Nike’s consumer hates the most is losing.

Early Morning

Fighting against the natural tendency to just stay in bed.  


A good attention grabber from the 2002 Winter Olympics.  

Everything you Need

From the 2008 Olympics as Nike started to discover how they could dominate the games without even sponsoring.  This has a great energy.  

Find Your Greatness

I believe this 2012 London Olympics campaign gets as close to the Brand DNA of finding your own greatness within you.  It’s not about celebrity or millionaires, or even gold medals.  It’s not about big greatness, but rather small greatness.  And that’s even bigger. 


I want to end with what I think is my favorite Nike Ad. I know this one receives mixed reviews but I believe in all of us there is someone who is fighting against what we were burdened with.  In this case it’s weight.  But I love that he’s trying.  

What is your fav Nike Ad?


If you are in the mood to see other great advertising, here’s a few other stories:

To see a training presentation on getting Better Advertising: 

email-Logo copyABOUT BELOVED BRANDS INC.:  At Beloved Brands, we are only focused on making brands better and making brand leaders better.Our motivation is that we love knowing we were part of helping someone to unleash their full potential.  We promise to challenge you to Think Different.  We believe the thinking that got you here, will not get you where you want to go.  grOur President and Chief Marketing Officer, Graham Robertson is a brand leader at heart, who loves everything about brands.  He comes with 20 years of experience at companies such as Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer Consumer, General Mills and Coke, where he was always able to find and drive growth.  Graham has won numerous new product and advertising awards. Graham brings his experience to your table, strong on leadership and facilitation at very high levels and training of Brand Leaders around the world.  To reach out directly, email me at graham.robertson@beloved-brands.com or follow on Twitter @grayrobertson1


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Nike’s “Find Your Greatness” is Stealing away the Olympics again!!!

At Beijing in 2008, Nike did such a good job that almost as many consumers felt they were the Olympic sponsor.

They flooded the malls of Beijing with Nike ads, knowing that people would be so hot, they would seek shelter in the malls. It was so successful, it forced the IOC to change the rules for Vancouver 2010 where only sponsors could do any ads within 150 miles of the host city. In London, Nike’s Jordan brand has already announced that they will be carrying live tweets of the US team’s Basketball games. (to read that article, click here: Nike to Ambush the Olympics through Twitter) But Nike’s “Reach For Greatness” campaign has the chance to steal away the games of London 2012.

For me, there are two visuals that stand out from these Olympics:

  1. The kid up on the diving tower, who stands in terror and eventually jumps
  2. The fat kid running along an empty country road at the break of dawn.

Here we are watching the Olympic games, where the greatest of the greats converge. Where Silver is referred to as the first loser. Where people who come fourth are in tears and feel the need to apologize. Where millionaires are instantly made–their sponsor has their new TV ad out within seconds of winning Gold. Visa congratulated athletes with real-time footage seconds after their victory and Corn Flakes has the Gold Medal winner already on their box. Terrific marketing, but what about the average Joe? Who is for the underdog in this world?

And yet here comes Nike, with two average people trying to reach for greatness in their own way. It’s a pleasantly surprising move coming from Nike who have a stable of the most pompous and most pampered athletes of our day. This is yet another move fron Nike, a non-sponsor, to hijack the Olympics. Since Nike has enough money to sponsor the games, I wonder if they are having more fun trying to steal them away without paying. It is fast becoming a lucrative hobby. It is amazing to see real people reaching and celebrating their own versions of greatness. These average people are far more inspirational than Tiger Woods or Lebron James.

This first Nike TV ad shows all the greatness going on around the world, creatively borrowing the word London, whether that’s in London Ohio or London Nigeria, London Field or on London Street. I love the end of the ad with the kid perched up in terror on the diving tower, afraid to jump. It’s a perfect metaphor for our own fears. And then he jumps. It’s the most basic of jumps, but the point is…he jumped. Maybe if we push ourselves, we can find our own version of greatness.


The next ad, features a 12-year old from London Ohio, filmed with one shot against a voice over. And yet it is extremely creative and inspiring. This is not a super human. This is what average looks like. Here’s a kid that’s 5 foot 3, 200 pounds, trying to get in shape. Not for the games of 2024, but just to get in shape. We can all relate to this kid. None of us are going to the games, but we can each push ourselves to get a bit better and find our own greatness.


Congrats Nike, you’ve done it again. This is the best return on no-investment I have seen.


If you are in the mood to see other great advertising, here’s a few other stories:


To see a training presentation on getting better Advertising: 


If you or team has any interest in a training program, please contact me at graham.robertson@beloved-brands.com


About Graham Robertson: I’m a marketer at heart, who loves everything about brands.  My background includes 20 years of CPG marketing at companies such as Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer Consumer, General Mills and Coke. The reason why I started Beloved Brands Inc. is to help brands realize their full potential value by generating more love for the brand.   I only do two things:  1) Make Brands Better or 2) Make Brand Leaders Better.  I have a reputation as someone who can find growth where others can’t, whether that’s on a turnaround, re-positioning, new launch or a sustaining high growth.  And I love to make Brand Leaders better by sharing my knowledge. My promise to you is that I will get your brand and your team in a better position for future growth. To read more about Beloved Brands Inc., visit http://beloved-brands.com/inc/   or visit my Slideshare site at http://www.slideshare.net/GrahamRobertson/presentations where you can find numerous presentations on How to be a Great Brand Leader.  Feel free to add me on Linked In at http://www.linkedin.com/in/grahamrobertson1  or on follow me on Twitter at @GrayRobertson1

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